Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Google may be harvesting user data from Android phones

Google News Icon Google may be harvesting user data from Android phones
Sandy Mccarthy | 16 May, 2018, 17:06

Google had already replied to a previous request for this information in response to a December 2017 letter from the pair, but they remain dissatisfied, because while Google claimed all services are "opt-in", they suspect users' choice is too easily forced. With more than ten million Australians using Android phones, they could be paying $580 million in unnecessary fees every year.

Symantec goes to give an example of "Android.Reputation.1" malware which appears to be "hidden in at at least seven apps in the U.S".

"Google claims Google Location History is opt-in, but both the device and application settings on Android phones frequently pushes users into providing 'consent, '" their letter reads.

Data privacy advocates said many consumers are unlikely to understand what they agreed to when signing up to use a smartphone.

Google told the news outlet in November that the location information was never stored or used; it was rather used to "further improve the speed and performance of message delivery".

Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, and Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, wrote the Federal Trade Commission on Monday, urging it to investigate Google's collection of location data.

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Image Courtesy of Google

According to reports: "Google has mapped IP addresses, Wi-Fi connection points, and mobile towers".

Reports indicate that almost $600 million is spent annually in Australia to secretly track users' every step. The firm said Google receives detailed information from Android users about their internet searches and locations, even when location services are turned off, and they have no SIM cards or apps installed.

Reports suggest that the data was originally harvested as part of the rolling out of Google Street View, but then just kept going, waiting for the next Mea Culpa moment.

Meanwhile, ACCC and company's Privacy Commissioner said that they are reviewing the claims made by Oracle in its presentation. Requiring children to say please when asking for something can help reinforce the importance of being polite, especially because Google will thank and compliment users who ask for things nicely.

Fortune quoted Google's response: "Any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user".

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