Google tracks users who turn off location history

Google records users’ locations even when they have asked it not to, a report from the Associated Press has suggested.
The issue could affect up to two billion Android and Apple devices which use Google for maps or search.
The study, verified by researchers at Princeton University, has angered US law-makers.
Google said in response that it provides clear descriptions of its tools and how to turn them off.
The study found that users’ whereabouts are recorded even when location history has been disabled.
For example:
‘Pretty sneaky’
To illustrate the effect of these location markers, AP created a visual map showing the movements of Princeton researcher Gunes Acar who was using an Android phone with location history turned off.
The map showed his train commute around New York as well as visits to The High Line park, Chelsea Market, Hell’s Kitchen, Central Park and Harlem. It also revealed his home address.
To stop Google saving these location markers, users have to turn off another setting called Web and App Activity, which is enabled by default and which does not mention location data.
Disabling this prevents Google storing information generated by searches and other activities which can limit the effectiveness of its digital assistant.
“You would think that telling Google that you didn’t want your location to be tracked by disabling an option called “Location History” would stop the internet giant from storing data about your location,” writes security researcher Graham Cluley on his blog.
“It seems pretty sneaky to me that Google continues to store location data, unless you both disable “Location history” and “Web & App Activity.””
In response, Google told AP: “There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people’s experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services.

Source: BBC

Comment here