Google at risk of £3bn fine over location tracking

Pinocchio with shadow

Pinocchio with shadow

Three days after the AP story was published Monday, Google altered a help page explanation but didn't change its tracking.

While a step in the right direction, Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton computer scientist, believes that Google is still trying to create confusion among users by having multiple settings for storing location information of users.

Previously, the page stated: 'With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored'.

The AP observed that the change occurred midday Thursday, a finding confirmed by Internet Archive snapshots taken earlier in the day.

To fully turn off the collection of location data, you need to log into your Google account and then navigate to "Web & App Activity" under Activity controls.

'We have been updating the explanatory language about Location History to make it more consistent and clear across our platforms and help centers, ' Google said in a statement to the AP.

The page now clarifies that Google still tracks their location even if they turn the setting off. If you want old data that's already been collected, you have to do that manually. "I can't think off the top of my head of any major online service that architected their location privacy settings in a similar way". On the next page, you have to toggle off "Web and App Activity (image above)". Turning that setting off that would in fact stop recording location data.

Here's how you can update your Google location settings on a desktop to limit what Google collects from you.

It is worth noting that despite the language update, Google still fails to tell users where they can actually turn off location tracking and storing for Maps and Search. During a Google Marketing Live even, executives for the tech giant bragged about using ads to boost in-person store visit through data drawn from users' location histories.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has not, as of yet, commented on any intention to investigate this matter.

Video: To comply with EU, Google simplifies privacy settings.

Google agreed to that order in response to an FTC investigation of its now-defunct social networking service Google Buzz, which the agency accused of publicly revealing users' most frequent Gmail contacts.

Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects - such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina, served on Google previous year to find devices near a murder scene.

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