Online shopping, chatting, calls, and use of Google Navigation maps for direction may have made our lives much easier, but it has also challenged data privacy. Thanks to the vast amount of data being gathered from these sources, those have become a treasure trove for companies looking to frame important business strategies and also for hackers wanting to fish out your bank details.
And if you thought denying Google permission to access your location is an easy way out, you couldn’t have been more wrong. An investigation by Associated Press uncovered that several Google services both on iPhones and Android devices store the data about one’s location even if you clearly deny it permission to do so. Researchers in computer science at Princeton affirmed the findings at the request of Associated Press.
Mostly Google Maps asks one to allow access to location in order to access its navigation. And if one grants it permission to record the location during a certain period, Google Maps would show that history in a “timeline.”
This storage of details poses risks to one’s privacy and has often been utilized by police to ascertain the exact location of suspects.
The company however has a “pause” a setting option under “Location History.” The support page of Google states that one can turn off the Location History when one wishes. With it, information on the places you visit is not stored.
But it isn’t exactly true. Even then some Google apps store the location timeline automatically without seeking your permission. In fact, certain things such as “kids science kits” and “chocolate chip cookies” that have nothing whatsoever to do with location also reveal your exact longitude and latitude. They also save it on one’s Google account.
Almost two billion Android users and hundreds of millions of iPhone users worldwide are affected by the privacy issue.