Google says it tracks location even when location history is turned off

Google-Location-Tracking-7

That's the rather sticky situation that Google has suddenly found itself in after Associated Press launched an investigation on how the tech giant keeps on tracking your location even after you turn certain settings off.

The issue is clear enough: Google provides a Location History interface for its account settings, and it allows users to disable this tracking and delete their history at any time.

"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", a Google spokesperson told the AP.

Google has also clarified that some location data may still be saved as part of a user's activity on Google Search and Google Maps.

You can turn off Location History at any time.

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


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 past year to find devices near a murder scene.

Researchers from Princeton University confirmed the findings. Turning that setting off that would in fact stop recording location data. Last year, the business news site Quartz found that Google was tracking Android users by collecting the addresses of nearby cellphone towers even if all location services were off. Google changed the practice and insisted it never recorded the data anyway.

With the revelation that users can not easily turn off tracking, Google has seemingly found itself in the midst of swirling debates over privacy, particularly with the rollout of the Europe Union's new sweeping privacy disclosure and tracking regulations in late May, and a consumer data protection law passed in California in June.

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. In Google Settings, pausing "Web and App Activity" may do the trick.

Google has not changed its location-tracking practices since the investigation was published.

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