back to article Google keeps tracking you even when you specifically tell it not to: Maps, Search won't take no for an answer

Google has admitted that its option to "pause" the gathering of your location data doesn’t apply to its Maps and Search apps – which will continue to track you even when you specifically choose to halt such monitoring. Researchers at Princeton University in the US this week confirmed on both Android handhelds and iPhones that …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple doesn’t do this.

    1. NoneSuch
      Mushroom

      Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

      This is why the US is doomed.

      Their Corporations Lie.

      Their Congress Lies.

      Their President Lies.

      The FBI Lies.

      The NSA Lies, to Congress

      Prosecutors Lie.

      And no one is held accountable.

      I give them twenty years max at this rate.

      1. MrReal

        Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

        Very true, but of course in the middle of Vietnam, the cold war and civil rights marches NASA told us the exact truth about Apollo.

        Because even though the moon missions remain heavily classified today we can be sure that Langley would never lie to us. Oh no.

        Now where did I put that Iraq dossier..

        1. Tomato42 Silver badge

          Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

          @MrReal "moon landing conspiracy theory"

          Moon landings were a PR job to show superiority of US against USSR, so yes, in the middle of cold war they *had* to tell the truth or the USSR would make fun of them.

          you're a nutjob, and if you don't turn around, I guarantee you'll soon believe that Earth is flat, vaccines cause autism and chem-trails control your mind

          1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

            "you're a nutjob, and if you don't turn around, I guarantee you'll soon believe that..."

            Your one downvote is from me, because your statement above irritates me. Just because someone might have questions about one event, it does not follow that they will swallow any and all conspiracy theory. For instance, you might believe that the rapture is about to happen but completely reject the idea of UFO abduction. You may think that we never went to the moon, but reject the flat earth nonsense.

            Millions of people all over the world believe in a sky-fairy for which they have no proof, tentative or otherwise, but we don't assume they all believe that 9/11 was an inside job. Stop conflating things to make your argument, it's a weak standpoint.

            If someone says we didn't go to the moon then ask for their evidence (which should be extraordinary) and then work towards countering that evidence with rational argument and research. Just dismissing it out of hand doesn't educate anyone or inform the argument. If all we did was dismiss such notions, we'd still think that mountain gorillas were fictional, that Watergate never happened because surely the president of the USA is beyond reproach, or that the Iran-Contra affair never happened. These were all conspiracy theories, remember, until evidence and debate were presented. If you want a more topical example, take a look at the WMD claims in the Iraq Conflict.

            It is foolish to assume that everything we are told by TPTB is accurate, truthful and beyond question, and equally foolish to assume that because someone believes in X they will also believe in Y.

            After all, Google have clearly told us that they aren't doing anything dodgy at all, and we're just conspiracy theorists claiming that they're tracking us for their own purposes all the time, even when we don't want them to!

            Conspiracy theorists fall down when they refuse to accept the answers and evidence provided to them. Anti-Conspiracists fall down by not questioning "official" accounts of events.

            1. John H Woods Silver badge

              Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

              "Just because someone might have questions about one event, it does not follow that they will swallow any and all conspiracy theory"

              It doesn't follow, but it certainly has predictive value, both in how likely they are to believe other CTs and how pointless it is to talk to them.

            2. JLV Silver badge

              Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

              nah. as a journalist once wrote a true conspiracy theorist will know far more about one particular facet of the issue than you ever will. he’ll then use one supposed or factual discrepancy to shoot down any amount of scientific and historical evidence, no matter how much the overall ledger is stacked against his theory. and no matter how good your arguments are.

              that journo was talking about cranks’ supposed issues with Zircon B chemistry. but you see the same with 9/11 and Tower 7 for example. they don’t have to explain away your evidence, you have to convince them their obsession is unwarranted, against their collective consciousness of thousands of other internet whackos.

              true conspiracy nuts are not worth wasting the time of day on unless you have a compelling reason.

              if they’re a friend, agree to disagree.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

                "nah. as a journalist once wrote a true conspiracy theorist will know far more about one particular facet of the issue than you ever will."

                Can't that be countered by simply learning EVEN MORE about that facet than him (if by nothing else thatn using his own tactics against him, so it's always possible), to the point you can out-AHA him in an argument? I mean, at some point, you'll eventually corner him. Then what?

                1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

                  Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

                  "Can't that be countered by simply learning EVEN MORE about that facet than him"

                  Yes indeed, providing your facts stand up to better scrutiny than the opposition brings to the table...

                  ...of course, you also have to be prepared to be called a conspiracy theorist yourself just for understanding the subject and questions put forth, and also be ready to be left with some questions that are difficult, if not impossible, to answer. Also, you'll be dismissed out of hand by a lot of smug people who think that they know the Truth, regardless of whether they are pro- or anti-conspiracy and don't bother to ask questions of themselves, only others.

                  You're doing the right thing though - Question everything.

            3. onefang Silver badge
              Alien

              Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

              "you might believe that the rapture is about to happen but completely reject the idea of UFO abduction."

              They might be the same thing. Unidentified Flying Angels suddenly appear, to abduct all the good worshipers of (insert favoured sky fairy here). After all, depending on your religion, they might be winged women wearing white, marinated meatballs with melted mozzarella, portly penguins parading proudly, or little green men from LGM-1 (AKA CP 1919 or PSR B1919+21).

              BTW, I was one of your upvoters, you made a good point.

              1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

                "BTW, I was one of your upvoters, you made a good point"

                Thank you! I consider myself a sceptic, or if you are familiar with the concept or term, a Fortean Sceptic. Unless I am presented with evidence to support a claim, I treat the claim with scepticism. I make no distinction between sources only between verifiable evidence; I ask questions and expect the experts on the subject to be able, and willing, to answer. I also expect the answer to be clear and intelligible.

                By way of example, I gave a lot of consideration to the suggestion that we, as a species, had not really visited the moon and that the footage was fake. I made a list of all the available claims that people had made against the landings, put a line through each claim that offered no evidence, found a metric ton of evidence we've been there and foiled nearly each and every claim where some evidence was offered, but I was left with a question or two that are yet to be answered. I also found some evidence to suggest that not everything may be as obvious as we may think. Let me be clear; this does not mean that I think we didn't go to the moon, we clearly did, but that doesn't mean that every single question has been answered or that all contrary evidence is invalid.

                My own current belief, on this particular subject, is that the Apollo missions took place as recorded, but were possibly embellished in order to reinforce the propaganda value of the missions; Additional pictures may have been created for newspaper circulation because the original pictures may not have been of a suitable standard, or the US wanted to convince the USSR that the technology employed was vastly superior to anything they might have had access to, and there is some evidence to support that notion.

                I try to apply this method of thinking to all theory and I get frustrated when otherwise intelligent people fall back to logical fallacies to defend their point of view.

          2. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

            in the middle of cold war they *had* to tell the truth or the USSR would make fun of them.

            Well, there's telling the truth and there's telling the truth.

            Funnily enough, the USSR were mostly not that concerned about doing the same. Or maybe their truth was a truth design for their population, and not others.

        2. Patrician

          Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

          The moon missions are not "heavily classified" and never have been.

          1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

            The moon missions are not "heavily classified" and never have been.

            Considering I was able to personally hold gauges from Apollo 1 (yes, after the fire) I don't think it was *that* locked down.

            And I've seen an interesting analysis that it would have been significantly harder (if not outright impossible) to fake the moon landing. Actually going there was cheaper and easier. Of course these days, all bets are off.

      2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

        The funny part is that you believe your government institutions and corporations are somehow better.

        1. Kimo

          Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

          Or that your corporations and our corporations are not the same corporations.

          1. Oh Homer Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Fanboi and/or Patriotic Rhetoric

            It's just silly.

            Here's what you need to know: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, your government and basically everyone else with the money, power and resources ... they're all out to screw you. All of 'em. Period.

            The only good guy in all this is We the People, and the only way we're not going to be meat for the grinder is if we walk off the farm and form a direct democracy, minus the oligarchs.

            In the realm of technology, that entails DIY hardware (via makerspaces), open source software, and self-hosted alternatives to online services.

            Yes it's more effort, but then you need to decide which is more important to you: convenience or freedom.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

          Funny, but for the most part our government is actually better than corporations because they have restrictions placed by laws.

          And yes, you can call your congress critter to make this against the law. So too could the Brits as part of their privacy law push.

          BTW, Apple brought in a lot of folks from Navteq/Nokia to help improve the maps.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

            Funny, but for the most part our government is actually better than corporations because they have restrictions placed by laws.

            * * * * * *

            You mean like the NSA using the law written to block mass surveillance as permission to do mass surveillance?

            Or like the secret court that has almost never turned down a surveillance request, that provides no information to anyone outside the requesting agencies?

            Like the restrictions that do not exist if you are not an American citizen, or if you are within 100 miles of a border, seacoast, or airport?

            Maybe they are not as constrained by law as you think.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

        GDPR ?

        1. Lucky2BHere

          Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

          GDPR is a good start, but it doesn't have enforcement teeth yet. Give it a couple more years. There is also a significant lack of understanding of the more progressive authentication methods and blockchain. The most concerning issue is how quickly the tech is developing relative to how quickly this meat-based organization that doesn't really have enough experiential savvy to a) fundamentally understand, and b) get ahead of the developments. GDPR could easily be a big mess in 3-4 years.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stuff Like This Should Be Illegal

        Leave the NBA outta this.

    2. Fred West

      Errm, yes they do..

      They suck your battery to improve Apple maps.

      https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/29/apple-is-rebuilding-maps-from-the-ground-up/?guccounter=1

      "Maps needs fixing. Apple, it turns out, is aware of this, so it’s re-building the maps part of Maps. It’s doing this by using first-party data gathered by iPhones"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They suck you up

        your Google and Apple.

        1. 's water music Silver badge

          Re: They suck you up

          your Google and Apple.

          They may not mean to, but they do (mean to)

          1. fedoraman

            Re: They suck you up

            They suck you up, your Apple and Google,

            They certainly mean to, and they do

            They harvest your location data

            And everything you search for, too

            (with apologies to P. Larkin)

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        In the UK Apple have been sending out their camera cars, I saw one recently & friends have seen bing cars (in areas not currently streetscape enabled in bing maps)

        So looks like the competitors are making an effort to fight Google on "streetview" imagery

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          In the UK Apple have been sending out their camera cars, I saw one recently & friends have seen bing cars (in areas not currently streetscape enabled in bing maps)

          No wonder London's traffic is jammed - it's all those competing mapping cars. At least there will be no risk of motion blur.

          :)

        2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Boffin

          @tiggity Microsoft has been doing this for years.

          The world is big and it takes a fleet of cars years to capture all of the roads globally.

          Not easy and then you have to process the data.

          Microsoft partnered with Navteq to do this.

          Google got their start by buying Navteq's map data before Navteq thought about putting it online.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Minced Oath

        Sheesh, how many fecking spyware ad networks does that TechCrunch article want me to allow to leech on to me? (While we’re on the topic…)

        That’s a site I’ll not be visiting again…!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Apple far worse

      Apple just force you to create an account when you first setup an iPhone, and location track you with no way to opt out of that either.

      On Android, a Google account is entirely optional, just press cancel on first setup. With no Google account, there is no Google location tracking. (Your network of course can always triangulate your location,vehich is true of every phone made in the last 25 years)

      Apple track you location and bolster apple maps with that data, at the expense of your data allowance and battery. It's clearly mentioned in page 12 of the Apple terms of service and page 22 of the privacy policy, which I'm sure you're familiar with.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Apple far worse

        I can see the damage control PR shills have been deployed.

        1. You can run iOS without an Apple ID account.

        2. Play Services has been caught sending your location even whenever all location settings have been turned off and it seems no Google account is required. See this.

        3. Battery life is not reduced because it's collected while Apple Maps is open, the data is anonymised, it's only used for improving the Maps app, and you neglect to mention what Google Maps and Google Play Services does with the data it slurps - you don't even have to have Maps open for it to pop up plaintive cries for help about restaurants you're walking past.

      2. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Apple far worse

        "On Android, a Google account is entirely optional"

        ... until you want to install any kind of app on it

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Apple far worse

          sideload

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple far worse

          It's hilarious how stupid iPhone users are (but then I guess we already knew this, spunking £1000 on a phone that's worse than a £600 phone).

          1/ If you don't sign into your phone with no account (which every Android device has always allowed you to do), there is no personally identifiable data, as you are totally anonymous, so who cares what's sent. (and interestingly, it's already been mentioned by the Apple Defence Force, that sending this stuff is perfectly OK, as it's something that Apple also routinely does, just in a way to confused idiots by using terms like "first party data")

          2/ The claims you can't use your phone if you don't sign into a Google account also also totally bogus. as you are totally free to use FDroid or whatever app store you want. Don't expect to find the Google Apps there, that cost Google billions of dollars to develop, as clearly they need some return on investment.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Apple far worse

            If you don't sign into your phone with no account (which every Android device has always allowed you to do), there is no personally identifiable data, as you are totally anonymous

            ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Of course!

            Your phone would *never* be found at your home overnight, or at your place of work, or your gym, or ....

          2. find users who cut cat tail

            Re: Apple far worse

            > there is no personally identifiable data, as you are totally anonymous, so who cares what's sent.

            Do you know what is sent? Data that will personally identify you, even if Google did not originally know who you are.

    4. Rich 2

      No, but...

      Re "Apple doesn't do this"

      I find it odd (well, OK, not odd at all, because it seems to be expected these days) that the privacy setting in IOS for switching on/off location services is the only one that pops up with a warning when you try to switch it off; "are you sure you want to switch this off? - it's really lovely you know".

      It comes up with no "are you sure you want to switch this on? - It's really creepy you know" warning when you switch it on though.

      In fact, Apple seem to have made the whole settings part of IOS as complicated and difficult to navigate as possible. But that's a different subject.

  2. elDog Silver badge

    Perfect ending: Makes perfect sense. ®

    We all don't know that this is not necessarily the way it is, or isn't. But, Trust Us(c). 'Cause first of all, we do no harm to our shareholders.

    1. Justin Case
      Unhappy

      Re: Perfect ending: Makes perfect sense. ®

      It all makes perfect sense, expressed in dollars and cents, pounds shillings and pence.

      (c) Roger Waters

      1. adnim Silver badge

        Re: Perfect ending: Makes perfect sense. ®

        "Darling is the child warm in the bed tonight?"

        Best check with Google location services.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Trust Us (c)

      You can see why they dropped their 'Don't be evil' slogan, but what they conveniently forgot to do was replace it with 'Lie like a motherfucker'.

  3. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    > and iPhones that even if you go into your smartphone's

    > settings and turn off "location history", Google continues to

    > snoop on your whereabouts

    How do they do that on iOS?

    Edit: the Android analysis was by the Princeton researcher; the iPhone result was by the journos at AP.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Where is this setting for "location history" they are talking about

      Is this something you set when you login to Google? The only setting for the Google Search app regarding location on my iPhone is to allow it to access my location "always", "while using app", or "never" which is the one I've got set.

      There's no setting for "location history", and if that's a setting on your Google account somewhere it makes sense that I'm not familiar with it - I pretty much never login to Google - if I have to I use a private window/tab. Same treatment I give Amazon!

      Unless Google has found and is exploiting some sort of iOS bug, it doesn't matter what setting my Google account has, Google is not going to get my location info off my iPhone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Seems you have found something that fits your belief, that apple are protecting you and Google are evil.

      If it makes sleep at night, good on you.

      Back in the real world, apple are doing the same, collecting location data from iPhones to build up the Apple maps dataset, it's not optional. If you read the ToS and privacy policy in detail you would know this. It's also why your iPhone battery life is so shit ...

      1. DougS Silver badge

        When Apple collects information from users to help with Maps etc. it is anonyomized before it is uploaded. I know you hate that there's a company out there that doesn't make their living trading on your personal information like your beloved Google, but if spreading lies about Apple makes you feel better I guess that's your prerogative.

        And my iPhone battery life is just fine thank you very much, and has been for every iPhone I've owned. Does it also make you feel better about your phone to believe that iPhones have "shit" battery life?

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          yeah, no...

          DougS:

          it is anonyomized before it is uploaded.

          Huh, this "anonymous" line ends and starts at this particular location every single day. *Crossreference data sets* -> Must be DougS.

          Anonymizing location data doesn't exist unless you first store certain location data to filter the home location of a person. Which is hardly more secure.

          1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: yeah, no...

            Huh, this "anonymous" line ends and starts at this particular location every single day. *Crossreference data sets* -> Must be DougS.

            Considering I have no cell service at the house, and I have mobile data disabled more than 99% of the time, they're not getting much useful data there.

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