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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple doesn’t do this.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      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 Bronze badge

        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
            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

              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

                  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
                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
            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. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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.

            1. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: yeah, no...

              @jelabarre95

              Some data seems to suggest location data is cached and send in blocks in that case. So this doesn't necessarily mean your location data is safe.

          2. Ballast

            Re: yeah, no...

            In the Tech Crunch article on Apple revamping their maps (https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/29/apple-is-rebuilding-maps-from-the-ground-up/) they say they don't record the start or end of a journey, then randomly selection sections of the middle part of the journey not its entirety.

            Still, you're relying on a comapany to tell the truth. You'll always get burned and not even because they might be malicious.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: yeah, no...

              Sure, any company can lie but what is Apple's incentive to lie about this? They have been marketing based on privacy more and more, and they'd lose that if they were found to be lying.

              Even if they wanted to secretly collect personal information they don't have any way to effectively monetize it. Where's their massive advertising network like Google and Facebook have? Where's their store that sells tens of millions of different items from hundreds of thousands of vendors all over the world like Amazon?

              Google, Facebook and Amazon don't collect personal information for no reason, they do it because their business model requires it. The only other reason to store a bunch of personal information about your users is if you have a lot of idle disk space you want to fill up.

            2. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: yeah, no...

              Gather enough relatively short journeys and all those "middle" parts will center around the "home" location and will allow extrapolation of atleast a quite narrow area where it is located.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        > 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.

        The data Apple collect for their maps can't be identified back to any individual user. It's anomynised and can't be de-anomynised because of mathematical techniques such as Differential Privacy.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google takes revenge

    Gotta be anonymous for this one...

    Google has been bombarding me with ads for Russian mail order brides. I clicked the no-thank-you buttons to no avail. Only change is that I then got ads for overweight Russian mail order brides.

    So I took to the settings panel and unchecked the box that "offered" tailored (huh?) ads. It did not take much time for Google to serve up its revenge: now I am bombarded with ads for gay dating sites and services.

    The situation is so crazy I cannot be logged into my own account if I want to search for people looking over my shoulders.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google takes revenge

      Does it always do this? Or does it only do it when you're on a particular network? If it happens everywhere, I can't help you, but if it only happens at work or at home, then you should stand up, look around, and decide which of those people are generating the hits causing you to get those ads.

      I can always tell when my girlfriend's kids have ordered something online... youtube on the two tv's and the old-phone-used-as-a-remote will show me ads for what they've just purchased for a week or so. I can also tell when my girlfriend discovers some new tv show....all i get are ads for that new show.

      On the other hand, I use the tv's web browser to use google to search for bondage gear, piercing equipment, guns, knives, and explosives... so, we're even.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google takes revenge

        >Does it always do this? Or does it only do it when you're on a particular network?

        It happens everywhere when I am logged in to my Google account or have done so on the machine I am working on. Google seems to track where I have been.

        >If it happens everywhere, I can't help you, but if it only happens at work or at home, then you should stand up, look around, and decide which of those people are generating the hits causing you to get those ads.

        Oh I know how it started. A friend of mine sent me an email saying I should get married and if I couldn't get a girlfriend, she was sure there would be Russian girls available. Google took the hint and ran with it. As in ever since.

        1. stiine Bronze badge
          Devil

          Re: Google takes revenge

          I'll have to try that. I'll set up a new email at work and send myself something....now how do i choose a subject so that every future add is for Bali, Victoria's Secret, nude beaches, Follies Atlanta, or The Cheetah....hmmm.

          1. onefang Silver badge

            Re: Google takes revenge

            "now how do i choose a subject so that every future add is for Bali, Victoria's Secret, nude beaches, Follies Atlanta, or The Cheetah"

            Subject - Victoria, from Atlanta, told me about a secret nude beach in Bali, where she saw a cheetah.

    2. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Google takes revenge

      I used to - note the past tense - use a Gmail account as my El Reg ID. last week I attempted to use my MS Outlook app on my laptop to read that account. Apparently MS Outlook is ‘not secure’ and my account was locked out because ‘Google could not verify that you are the owner of this account’. My major crime appears to have failed to log in to the web interface for several years, having set up IMAP for the account and exclusively using ‘insecure’ apps such as Thunderbird, MS Outlook, and Apple Mail rather than the superior, and ad-ridden and/or location-blabbing Google products.

      I now have a Zoho account, and all who I know who have (had) Gmail accounts are switching to Zoho or similar. Because I had set up IMAP, I can retrieve mail prior to Google’s hissy fit. This account was a throwaway for use with web fora, so it didn’t get much mail in the first place, mostly password reset messages and such. I’ve changed all the fora which used to use this account. Say buh-bye, now...

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: Google takes revenge

        "because ‘Google could not verify that you are the owner of this account’."

        Yeah, I've had that recently - but not for gmail, but logging in to my Google account via the web to look at a Docs spreadsheet. Well, when I say my account, I mean one of them...

        A couple of years ago I created a separate one to my own for use at a particular client, so they could share docs with me; since it was a use specific to them, I used my email address that I have with them. But - just as with my own account - I log-in *very* rarely.

        When I did a couple of weeks ago, even though I had the password absolutely right, I got locked out because "Google could not verify..." - part of that verification, though, was that they allegedly sent an email to me with a code in. That email didn't arrive until much later.

        I think it's a couple of things at issue - very rare log-ins and the lack of cookie persistence. Google never recognises my machine, because there's no history there.

        (I got around the problem at the time by going to someone else's computer, and simply accessing the sheet from there, using his account - so, er, yeah...)

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Google takes revenge

        I set up postfix, dovecote on a core2 duo. Let's encrypt deals with the certificate issue.

        No ads.

        Surprisingly little spam too, even without any clever spam filtering.

        Mostly I see smtp auth attempted on port 25, but no one seems to bother with 587.

        I too got the blocked access message from google for another account. They wanted my telephone number. That behaviour just speeds my migration.

    3. Magani
      Unhappy

      Re: Google takes revenge

      Google has been bombarding me with ads for Russian mail order brides.

      Google has ads? Really?? I wonder if the little ABP icon at the top of my browser is the reason I don't get them...

      Seriously, I get a bit cheesed off with Big G asking me to 'help' with a particular company when I use 'OK Google, Navigate to Madam Lash's House of Fun' on my phone.

      A week or so ago (without asking for navigation on my phone) I visited a jewellery that was adjacent to a Thai Restaurant. Google wanted my ideas on the restaurant after I left the jeweler's.

      Methinks turning off data and GPS may be the only way to circumvent this?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google takes revenge

        > Methinks turning off data and GPS may be the only way to circumvent this?

        That is not enough. The baseband unit is still in contact with basestations in order to let you set up a call. And that allows them to triangulate you. If, on the other hand, you turn on flight mode, you will be off the grid and Google cannot triangulate you.

        > Seriously, I get a bit cheesed off with Big G asking me to 'help' with a particular company when I use 'OK Google, Navigate to Madam Lash's House of Fun' on my phone.

        Mmmm, it could be it ocnfuses your name "Magani" with the more well known "Magnanti".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google takes revenge

          If, on the other hand, you turn on flight mode, you will be off the grid and Google cannot triangulate you.

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

          If you have wifi on, Google will match visible SSIDs against their database of SSIDs which have been seen by their cars, or by Android phones, or maybe phones running Google apps (not sure on the last, but they probably try).

          If they use the right methods, they should also get 'invisible' SSIDs.

          Between what can be seen, and signal strengths, they should be able to locate you at least as accurately as with cell towers.

          That data can't be uploaded until you connect to something... but it will be stored.

      2. Argh

        Re: Google takes revenge

        You can stop being asked for contributions in Maps by going to:

        Settings > Notifications > Your Contributions

        Or if you're on Android Oreo, you can configure the app's notification channels instead.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Google takes revenge

          Or uninstall/disable Maps and use a GDPR-compliant alternative.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Google takes revenge

            Google maps is GDPR compliant. You just agreed to it.

            If you have trouble understanding the difference between non-compliance and permission, ask a grown up for assistance.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: Google takes revenge

              Just because you opened the Maps application and in Google's eyes supposedly therefore agreed to the current opt-out default settings and all new opt-out settings which appear in future Maps updates, it doesn't make it GDPR compliant.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Google takes revenge

              "If you have trouble understanding the difference between non-compliance and permission, ask a grown up for assistance."

              If you have difficulty understanding the difference between opt-in and opt-out, ask a grown up for assistance.

              Likewise if you have trouble understanding "Avoid making consent to processing a precondition of a service" ( https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/lawful-basis-for-processing/consent/ ) ask a grown up for assistance.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Google takes revenge

            Or uninstall/disable Maps and use a GDPR-compliant alternative.

            === === ====

            Suggestions, please?

            1. onefang Silver badge

              Re: Google takes revenge

              "Or uninstall/disable Maps and use a GDPR-compliant alternative.

              === === ====

              Suggestions, please?"

              I use Osmand, others have been mentioned here.

      3. Rbn

        Re: Google takes revenge

        Disable location history and/or Google maps location permissions, it's maps that suggests these "what did you think of ..." Requests (as far as I know)

      4. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: Google takes revenge

        Methinks turning off data and GPS may be the only way to circumvent this?

        I inadvertently disabled GPS the other day via the settings shortcut on my lollipop device. I couldn't work out why Stava couldn't get a fix because it appeared as if it was not getting a signal rather than it was disabled. At one point I fired up maps for comparison. It was able to get a fix ok which set my troubleshooting efforts back until I eventually spotted what I had done

    4. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: AC

      Google knows what you want. It has all that data on you. Are you saying the big Google in the sky is wrong and you don't want a male order bride? Blasphemy!

  5. Mephistro Silver badge
    Flame

    I spy with my little eye...

    Hint: the first letter is an 'F'.

    The solution, below.

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    All right, the answer is FOUR PERCENT OF GLOBAL TURNOVER!

    1. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      @ Mephistro Re: I spy with my little eye...

      "All right, the answer is FOUR PERCENT OF GLOBAL TURNOVER!"

      Once a fucking month, every fucking month until they stop fucking doing it!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I spy with my little eye...

      "All right, the answer is FOUR PERCENT OF GLOBAL TURNOVER!"

      How soon before they figure out a way to legally have NO turnover?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lets recap on recent Google *Location* Crimes

    ~~~~~

    www.theregister.co.uk/2017/11/22/permissionless_data_slurping_google/

    ~~~~~

    There are no menu options. No choices to protect you. Its all fake control.

    So why doesn't Kieran refer back to Andrew's article, left hand/right hand?

    These are white collar crimes... But when you get to write your own Laws...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google keeps tracking you even when you specifically tell it not to

    I don't understand why anyone would be surprised by this.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Google keeps tracking you even when you specifically tell it not to

      reminds me of THIS

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Google keeps tracking you even when you specifically tell it not to

      Indeed. They use your IP address, the WiFi point, perhaps mobile base (not sure). Since I know where I am and rarely go anywhere and can read my large selection of maps, I don't use Google Maps or Google Search (the one not in a Browser). I have them disabled. It's icing on cake for Google if your GPS is on. I have that off too as I don't wander about outside or sit at windows. GPS is 1.4GHz and from Satellites, so rarely works indoors away from windows.

      I've known that Google is maliciously gathering personal info for years. The WiFi data capture during Street View driving was part of it. They don't need that now with so many phones running Android with BT, WiFI and Mobile data left on. I only turn on WiFi when using Play Store/Updates/Viber, maybe less than 10 min a day on average. Rarely ever use Mobile Data. It's not just Google. I took off Kindle app and use a different eReader. It was generating popup errors about unable to connect even when I'd not used it since last power on. Aggressive fetching of Advert content and reporting in Apps. So now I don't use ones that do that. I only use BT (enable) on phone/laptop to test a gadget. BT Keyboards inferior to USB. BT earphones or audio adaptor to HiFi inferior to 3.5mm stereo jack + cable due to extra latency & extra codec pair.

      It's terribly sad that we have to cripple the use of our own gadgets due to Corporate greed and dishonesty. Did you know that Luddites didn't oppose machinery? They thought that instead of lower pay and worse conditions (weaving), the Industrialists making much more profit from mechanisation and automation (Jacquard programming, automatic shuttle etc even without steam) should actually treat the workers better than home manual weavers.

  8. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Nobody saw this coming?

    Come on - anyone with half a brain knew that they were doing this. The T&C always says "no we don't" on the first page and about page 69 it mentions that some data may be needed to debug, aid your support, etc etc ... and we all clicked OK on the first page.

    This is the way the world works these days.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Nobody saw this coming?

      "This is the way the world works these days."

      because too many "sheeple" roll over and let it happen

      1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

        Re: Nobody saw this coming?

        Sheep have a surprisingly complex social life and structure and it is a very poor pejorative to apply to human beings. It does however say more about your thought processes than it does about others and is thus useful. Have a nice day!

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Nobody saw this coming? @Geoffrey W

          From personal experience, if you're trying to move a flock of sheep from one place to another, it is quite often the case that if you can get a couple to to move with purpose to where you want them to go, most of the rest of the herd will follow.

          I've not done any in depth sociological research, but I have moved herds of sheep hundreds of times when my farther-in-law owned a sheep farm...

          1. Mage Silver badge

            Re: Nobody saw this coming? @Geoffrey W

            Goats are tricker.

            Don't bother trying to herd programmers.

  9. Lorribot

    Privacy? Get over it.

    "if people really wanted Google not to know where they are every second of every day, they would of course" never use anything made, owned, designed or in anyway interact with google, if you do its all your fault for being stupid and relying on governments to stop this happening and safeguard your privacy, because in Googles world you have no privacy so get over it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Privacy? Get over it.

      So you might as well just go full Luddite and retreat to the mountains...oh wait, Google has its hands in land survey satellites, too (Google Earth), so no escape there, either.

  10. James 51 Silver badge

    What happens if you don't put a Google account on the phone? I imagine that they create an anon account until they figure out who you are and combine the data sets.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      What happens if you don't put a Google account on the phone?

      AFAIK, if it's an Android phone then you can't use it - it just won't let you configure the phone and use it without signing into a Google account.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What happens if you don't put a Google account on the phone?

        AFAIK, if it's an Android phone then you can't use it - it just won't let you configure the phone and use it without signing into a Google account.

        You can in fact use the android phone without signing into a google account. If it is a new phone, you can skip the google account login at the start. The downside (upside?) is you can't use the play store and other google api required apps. App installation here will only work by sideloading.

        This is also why fundamentally AOSP, lineageOS and other custom rom can work perfectly without google apps.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          "This is also why fundamentally AOSP, lineageOS and other custom rom can work perfectly without google apps."

          OK, know one that doesn't trip dm-verity?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Totally untrue.

        You have always been able to use Android without a Google account. You just cancel the Google sign-up on first boot.

        iPhone doesn't have the same feature, an apple account is mandatory.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Utter nonsense, you can choose to set it up later on first run and never set it up.

          Meanwhile Play Services is still in the background, slurping dafa, only you can't change the default settings Google does deign to offer because you don't have an account.

          1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            I stand corrected - it's a long time since I last set one up, and I don't recall seeing any way to avoid signing into a google account.

            But you raise an important point - all those systems (Google isn't alone) where the only way to opt out of something is to sign into an online account (that you have to create, and agree to their ToS in doing so). So in order to opt out of something undesirable or even illegal, you have to enter into a contract allowing them to do it - and thus making it legal.

            1. James 51 Silver badge

              @SLmon, sounds like a breach of GDPR there.

            2. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Sorry if it was unclear, I was replying to the AC above me.

  11. Mark 85 Silver badge

    "...to improve people's experience..."

    This has to be the most overused BS of marketing phrases. It's about improving Google's marketing paycheck. Full Stop. They've gone far beyond mere evil to the point that I fear that they own the darkside.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      to improve people's experience

      deserves its own icon, like 'for the children'

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Privacy? Get over it / This is the way the world works"

    So we should all just accept it then??? Thanks for that Eric Schmidt!!!

    What's extraordinary is so few businesses see the opportunities here...

    Its not easy for busy families to be privacy-wise. Top-10 list to discuss:

    ---

    1. Swap Google for Startpage

    2. Swap Gmail / WhatsApp / Messenger / Facebook / Instagram for Signal

    3. Dump Gmail / Hotmail / Outlook / Yahoo mail for an alternative if possible

    4. Avoid Win10 and use Linux if available. If not possible Lock-down Win10

    5. Android: Sanitize phone: disable / uninstall spyware. Add Netguard etc

    6. Android: Turn-off Location Services in general unless its unavoidable

    7. Android: Use Ad Blockers plus FireFox Klar or equiv Privacy Browser

    8. Delete accounts for Facebook / Instagram / WhatsApp / Gmail / Hotmail

    9. Never ever use Facebook / Google to Log-into any 3rd-Party services

    0. Info shared online today will be used by AI algos tomorrow against you

    1. Drew 11

      Re: "Privacy? Get over it / This is the way the world works"

      Don't forget to stop visiting any dogsbreakfastxxxxx wordpress sites because by default they'll be using Google Fonts and Google "Tag Manager"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Privacy? Get over it / This is the way the world works"

        Google Tag Manager? The thing that NoScript never allows to run? Good to know. Policy unchanged, then.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Privacy? Get over it / This is the way the world works"

      Avoid Win10 and use Linux if available. If not possible Lock-down Win10

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

      If not possible, run Windows in a tightly fire-walled VM over Linux

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: "Privacy? Get over it / This is the way the world works"

        "If not possible, run Windows in a tightly fire-walled VM over Linux"

        And if not possible to use a VM due to high performance of RAM demands?

  13. Tom Wood

    Firefox and DuckDuckGo

    A couple of weeks ago I found a lot of websites I use regularly kept crashing in Chrome on Android (repeated 'Aw Snap' messages). So I downloaded Firefox and found it works just as well as chrome (but without the errors).

    While I was there I noticed it was easy to search DuckDuckGo instead of Google and indeed to set it as default. First time I'd used DDG and its actually pretty usable.

    So, while Google still know my location etc they don't know what I'm searching for.

    Also I noticed there were a lot of websites where audio recording and camera permissions popped up in Firefox - no idea why, they were just news sites etc - ads triggering these permissions? Needless to say I denied them as I have no need to use audio or camera from within Firefox.

    So yeah, use a different browser sometimes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Firefox and DuckDuckGo

      DDG is better than feeding the Google monster... However, you should read up on DuckDuckGo's unhealthy ties to Yahoo and how they hid that info. Startpage is safer at least for now anyway.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Firefox and DuckDuckGo

        Why should I be worried about Yahoo collecting data on me? Comparing that to Google collecting data on me is like the difference between putting your SSN and credit card number on a flyer on the windshield of every car at a football game attended by tens of thousands of people, and putting your SSN and credit card number on a single sheet of paper and posting it on the underside of a dumpster behind a McDonalds in Yakima, Washington.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          'Why should I be worried about Yahoo collecting data on me?'

          Google are creepy but your trust in Yahoo is misplaced! Be mindful of them slurping info on you and leaking it to literally anyone. No other tech outfit ever came close to the breaches Yahoo experienced. The worst included every single account!

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: 'Why should I be worried about Yahoo collecting data on me?'

            I'm not "trusting" Yahoo, I'm just more comfortable with them due to their ineptitude. Google and Facebook are actively evil and don't care about their users at all other than finding a way to monetize us more effectively to their real customers, advertisers. Yahoo might wish they could be like them, but they're too stupid to do so.

            Breaches are not a good thing, but no one is ever going to breach a company the size of Yahoo - let alone Google and Facebook - and steal all the personal information they've collected. There's just too much of it. Collecting passwords, who cares, I don't even have a Yahoo password anymore AFAIK, and if someone got my Google password they wouldn't get anything of value...

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Firefox and DuckDuckGo

      Also I noticed there were a lot of websites where audio recording and camera permissions popped up in Firefox - no idea why, they were just news sites etc - ads triggering these permissions?

      Yep - malvertising.

      You should worry more about why those permission requests didn't pop up on Chrome.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Firefox and DuckDuckGo

        You should worry more about why those permission requests didn't pop up on Chrome.

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

        And you should seriously look at Iron, which is also based on Chromium, but without the builtin spyware.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Firefox and DuckDuckGo

      "So yeah, use a different browser sometimes."

      Only sometimes?

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Firefox and DuckDuckGo

        "Only sometimes?"

        Yeah, so far only Chrome works under Linux for watching Netflix. B-(

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Firefox and DuckDuckGo

          I've watched Netflix in Linux many times using Waterfox.

          1. onefang Silver badge

            Re: Firefox and DuckDuckGo

            "I've watched Netflix in Linux many times using Waterfox."

            When Netflix first came to Australia, Chrome was the only browser that it worked on under Linux. I've just tested Firefox ESR, and Netflix works fine once you turn on DRM. I guess things have changed. It still doesn't work on my locked down Palemoon, which is my main browser. So now I got choices.

      2. Tom Wood

        Re: Firefox and DuckDuckGo

        "Only sometimes?"

        Actually it seems like a good idea to use more than one browser. And more than one credit card, more than one supermarket, etc.

        Then at least none of them have *all* your data.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Firefox and DuckDuckGo

        Browsers are like screwdrivers - have the appropriate mix.

        Firefox with lots of privacy/security add-ons.

        Iron

        Tor

        Plus...

        ... on Android, or Windows, maybe Opera?

        ... on Linux, assorted open source browsers to taste

        ... on Linux, some

    4. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Firefox and DuckDuckGo

      repeated 'Aw Snap' messages

      Come to my macaroni party, then we'll take a nap!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Firefox and DuckDuckGo

      Good start.

      Now you should start looking for a good no log VPN service based outside the 'five eyes' countries. Make sure it separates operation and billing, and has leak, IPV6, and DNS protection.

  14. Dwarf Silver badge

    Plain English

    There is a campaign in the UK called the "Plain English Campaign" that is "Fighting for crystal clear communication since 1979"

    It sounds like the big corporate need to get involved with them and those that don't must have their senior managers sent to the local paintball park with no padding and they must fund free paint balls and

    entry for anyone that feels aggrieved by their actions *.

    Hopefully the combination of these two actions will result in people starting to listen and more importantly understand what consumers think of corporates that ignore customers.

    * Other countries may decide to swap the forfeit for something more popular in the local area.

    1. Tim99 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Plain English

      Alternatively, read George Orwell written in 1946. >>=========>

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Also need an Email Account

    To complete your privacy you need an email account that is not mined for information about you. Android phones need a Google account and that includes Gmail.

    So you need a non-android non-iOS phone, preferably one that supports some form of email access from a provider that respects your privacy. Google knew this is a tall order and it shows. Even more preferably the email hoster should be in the same country as you to avoid traffic crossing international borders.

    Suggestions?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Also need an Email Account

      Use a dedicated account just for the phone.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Also need an Email Account

        Perhaps I should have mentioned a Gmail account just for the phone which nobody sends mail to apart from Google can't really be mined.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Also need an Email Account

      To complete your privacy you need an email account that is not mined for information about you. Android phones need a Google account and that includes Gmail.

      So you need a non-android non-iOS phone, preferably one that supports some form of email access from a provider that respects your privacy.

      Suggestions?

      Purism - Librem 5

      "We believe phones should not track you nor exploit your digital life. We are in the middle of a digital rights revolution where you get to decide the future. We at Purism are building a phone that does not run Android nor iOS, but runs PureOS or any GNU/Linux distribution where all the source code is available."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Also need an Email Account

        Looks nice....

        But i'll wait till it's finished...

    3. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Also need an Email Account

      I forget how I did it, but a year or so back I did manage to create a Google account using a non-Gmail email.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Also need an Email Account

      Even more preferably the email hoster should be in the same country as you to avoid traffic crossing international borders.

      Suggestions?

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

      1. Find a stand-alone local or regional ISP, and get an account there for mail. A dial-up account is cheap, and comes with a pile of addresses. If they only serve a 100 km radius, and only have one main site, border crossing is minimized,,, but it looks like the internet is structured to route even local traffic through the US or UK if possible. I've seen traffic go via the US on a 2,000 km route in order to reach a spot only 15 km from here.

      2. Have a phone only phone, for calls and texts, and a different device for email.

      If you must get email on your phone, use a VPN and a locked down browser to the mail provider's web service, in a private window.

  16. Andy Mac
    Thumb Up

    Thanks!

    This is the kick I needed to finally ditch Google Maps.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My solution

    Uninstall every Google app I could uninstall.

    Disable every Google app I couldn't except Play Services and Play Store.

    Remove all permissions on Play Services and Play Store except Telephone, Storage, and Badges.

    Go through every option in every tab in every page in Settings > Google and turn them off/disable/delete history/etc...

    Change Settings > Security > Location to GPS only, no scanning.

    In Settings > Security, disable Full Scanning and Find My Device (note: log in on the Web and it'll find you anyway).

    Remove Google apps from Settings > Security > Device Admin Apps and Trust Agents.

    In Users & Accounts > [Google Account], disable all syncing.

    Find alternatives like Firefox, Here Maps, and Simple Gallery.

    This is probably by no means exhaustive due to Google's weasle words and probably slurping the location anyway.

    Any further ideas appreciated.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My solution

      All the really toxic slurp is in embedded in Play Services / Play Store, as those are the parts of Android that are off-limits or closed source. Why opt to keep them when there's F-droid / Yalp... You should install a non-root VPN firewall and block everything you can't trust. Most offer hosts file blocking too!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My solution

      I Uninstall every Google app I could uninstall ...[and literally every possible options on the phone]

      Normally, I would've just recommended a no root firewall. But if you're willing to go that far, then you could look for a rooting method for your phone and root uninstall the remaining ones. If you don't use play store that much, you 'could' also sign out from it.

      If you want to save the work and just get a clean android experience, then you could try to look for a a custom rom.like lineageOS for your phone.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: My solution

        And then you get locked out from root-aware apps, and since Marshmallow dm-verity is enforced and can be checked, too.

  18. Oengus
    Flame

    More personalized experiences

    How can I get it through to these megacorps that I don't want "more personalized experiences". I want my data to remain MY data and not be tracked every second.

    I would rather scroll through 2 or 3 (or more) pages of raw results rather than get their "sanitized and personalized" results because their algorithm really doesn't know what I am looking for by my past searches.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      General Strike - Don't anybody move

      If Google goes to such lengths(Þ) to track me, my moves must have some value. So I will stop moving until Google pays me to move again.

      Is this a modified Matrix where we feed Big Corp by constantly moving around?

  19. _SMB_

    So how do we turn the location tracking off to the maximum extent practical? Is there a guide on the current version of Android someplace that Reg users would recommend?

    1. onefang Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      "So how do we turn the location tracking off to the maximum extent practical? Is there a guide on the current version of Android someplace that Reg users would recommend?"

      Depending on what you consider practical, apparently keeping your phone in an old chip packet does the trick. The metal foil stops all / most radio waves. Or so I have read somewhere on El Reg. Also works for non-Android devices, so long as they physically fit inside. I regularly buy packs with twenty packets of chips in them, the main bag is plenty big enough to hold a laptop.

      Or, as per the icon, a Montana (other localities are available) mountain bunker complex. Hiding under a mountain is really good at blocking radio waves.

    2. Rbn

      If you want to be really anal about it you can go app by app, go to the following:

      Settings (device settings)

      Apps & Notifications

      Locate the app in question (presumably maps)

      Press maps, then permissions, then disable the location permission.

      Otherwise do the following:

      Settings (device settings)

      Apps and notifications

      Permissions

      Your location

      Then disable any app that you wish not to use your location from there.

      If you want to disable all Google apps tracking your location do the following:

      Settings (device settings)

      Google

      Location

      Then disable "access to my location"

      You'll notice the apps get greyed out.

      Then go into google location history and disable that once inside.

  20. Pangasinan Philippines

    Haven't updated G Maps for more than a year

    When they wanted extra permissions to access my contacts.

    Err . . . .Why?

    1. Rbn

      Re: Haven't updated G Maps for more than a year

      Presumably because you can add addresses to your contacts, then ask Google to take you to "John Doe home" in turn opening maps and directing you to that address. There are probably many more reasons alongside this but it's not a snooping mechanism if you were afraid of that being so.

      1. ratfox Silver badge

        Re: Haven't updated G Maps for more than a year

        There's an option in Google maps to automatically share your location with somebody else (e.g your wife).

  21. FozzyBear Silver badge

    Which is why I'm using an old S3 on an old version of android that doesn't require all that crap to work. Phone calls and the occasional text message that's it. The settings options were all turned off, except for bluetooth (Car Connection) . If there was a phone similar to the good ol' nokia 3310. I'd switch to that .

    There really should be a grumpy old man icon. My vote Statler and Waldorf from the muppets

  22. FuzzyWuzzys
    Happy

    You got to love Google and their ilk! Ha!

    "No, we won't track you...( Shhh! Except through our search and maps offerings which are 90% of our core business. )"

    If these companies ever actually allowed you to turn off the bulk component that drives the ad revenue systems they'd be in Chapter 11 the next morning! They can never turn these things off. Apple maybe an edge case as they have a core business built on selling hardware so they're a little different, they can afford to turn off most of their tracking in their apps but not completely.

    See these companies spend millions on ML systems research to mine all that juicy data to be able to predict the next big thing we the plebs will want. They simply cannot allow their rivals to get even a week or two lead over them in research and understanding we plebs and our needs, they'd lose billions if they allowed that to happen.

    If you want to stop tracking, stop buying the latest gadgets or using the services, they'd be forced to find more devious ways to track us and work our needs and wants but we like our shiny toys, our little treats. We work like dogs and without that little rush of endorphins when we make that big purchase, all that tedious 9-5 slog would seem infinitely harder wouldn't it?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: You got to love Google and their ilk! Ha!

      "hese companies spend millions on ML systems research to mine all that juicy data to be able to predict the next big thing we the plebs will want."

      And get it wrong.

      Not that it makes any difference to them. They sell the results to their mug customers, the advertisers, who promptly pass on the costs to us, their (the advertisers') customers.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What exactly did they do?

    Researchers at Princeton University in the US this week confirmed on both Android handhelds and iPhones that even if you go into your smartphone's settings and turn off "location history", Google continues to snoop on your whereabouts and save it to your personal profile.

    There isn't enough detail to explain what google did or what the researchers did in this article or the original article. It seems as if they only turned off gps (is this the "location" they are referring to?), but still got tracked by google map. In their case, they said some of those info even got back to the google account and they are recommending people to turn it off at my activity in google account.

    But the thing is, did they left mobile data on for that research?

    It makes a huge differences, because we know a lot of apps including google apps by default use data in the background, mobile data ip location information getting sent back should be expected.

    This also changes what they really should be recommending. Block, disable and uninstall apps if you don't want it to get location data from mobile data.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: What exactly did they do?

      But Google Play Services is built into every vanilla Android phone, and it alone can send all it needs to Google via base station triangulation (and the only way to stop that is to turn off the radio, at which point it's practically a paperweight. Remove GPS is only possible by tripping various safeguards built into the phone which can cause apps to balk.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: at which point it's practically a paperweight

        ... but that's how I mostly run my smartphone, i.e. as a pda, where I only turn the radios on when necessary, and off when not. I've got a dumbphone for phone and texts.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: at which point it's practically a paperweight

          ... but that's how I mostly run my smartphone, i.e. as a pda, where I only turn the radios on when necessary, and off when not. I've got a dumbphone for phone and texts.

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

          Yes!

          And it can double as a mediocre camera, as well.

          (yes, yes, they are getting better but compared to a $5,000 camera body with a $3,000 lens... still not that great.... YSMV - your standards may vary)

  24. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Big Brother

    you may stop seeing helpful recommendations based on the apps and sites you use

    Helpful to whom?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: you may stop seeing helpful recommendations based on the apps and sites you use

      "Helpful to whom?"

      Helpful to Google because they've conned their customers, the advertisers, into thinking this is valuable* data for which they should pay.

      *although almost inevitably worthless

  25. Displacement Activity

    Not really news, and How To Screw Maps

    I've been using Google exclusively for 15+ years without problems. Then, a couple of months ago, they started swamping my searches with ads. Not just at the top - mixed in throughout the search results, even when I'd clicked the invisible 'hide ads' button, making the real results unusable. Really, really dumb ads, and all for the same thing - say, 8 different ads for Dubai hotels, all on the first page of results. The connection? I had *flown* over or through those places, with a maximum stay of a couple of hours, over the last year or so, with maps turned on. Seriously. I've never been to Jersey, but flew over at 35,000ft, and got pages of ads on camper van hire in Jersey. In case I crashed, presumably.

    My fix is to to dump Google. MS has screwed me in thousands of ways, but their search engine hasn't quite got to this level of stupidity. And duckduckgo if I can be bothered.

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: Not really news, and How To Screw Maps

      Seriously. I've never been to Jersey, but flew over at 35,000ft, and got pages of ads on camper van hire in Jersey. In case I crashed, presumably.

      I've not been in a plane crash, but if I were, I'm pretty sure that renting/buying a campervan would not be near the top of my priority list

      1. onefang Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Not really news, and How To Screw Maps

        "I've not been in a plane crash, but if I were, I'm pretty sure that renting/buying a campervan would not be near the top of my priority list"

        Well, if you survive, and you can't afford to stay in a hospital, you'll need somewhere to stay while you search the area around the crash site for what's left of your luggage. Parking a camper van somewhere nearby might be just what you need.

  26. Franco Silver badge

    And here was me thinking "opt-in" meant I would be asked if I wanted to share this data, I think they mean "opt-out if you can find the settings and translate the doublespeak"

    I've done granular permission changes to pretty much every Android app on my phone, it's pretty scary how many of them "need" access to my contacts, phone calls and location. Google Play does occasionally throw up a message that it won't work without access to contacts, but it does.

  27. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Pirate

    Alternatively

    can't someone come up with an app to spaff false location data back to Google to make their data sets useless ?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Alternatively

      "can't someone come up with an app to spaff false location data back to Google to make their data sets useless ?"

      What makes you think they aren't? What's really needed is an app to make the advertisers realize they're useless.

    2. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Alternatively

      "can't someone come up with an app to spaff false location data back to Google to make their data sets useless ?"

      There are a few of those, including Androids own hidden developer settings menu. Google's own software ignores them and gets the real location, all other apps get the fake location. You need root to be able to actually lie to Google's software.

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. stiine Bronze badge
      Unhappy

      Re: deliberately confusing interfaces

      I thought that was just my phone beginning to die (it already forgets it has a sim card sometimes).

  29. tallenglish

    Easy Answer

    Disable the various google services you dont want on the phone like search and chrome and maps if you dont use them. Same for any other bloatware like facebook/linkedin on Samsung phones.

    Pause everything on google privicy, screw the fact it breaks things like google play movies and tv.

    Lastly if something gets through, go and clear all history for everything to the beginning of time on a regular basis if needed. You will also see what gaps and apps are not behaving over time.

    I did that and google has little to no history of anything I do, even watching movies on google play or youtube.

  30. Cuddles Silver badge

    It's really not that complicated

    "And if you want to turn off web and app activity, you need to go to Google settings - although where precisely it's not clear."

    It's entirely clear - exactly the same place as all the other settings you mentioned. Settings -> Google -> Data & Personalisation. There you will find all the options mentioned in the article, plus a few others - "Web & app", "Location", "Voice and audio", "Device information", "Youtube search" and "Youtube watch". Each one has a handy "learn more" link that tells you exactly what it does. "Web & app" saves things that you actually type into search boxes on maps, Google search, and so on, and hence includes some location information. Location just records your location through the normal location services on your device. Device information records, you know, device information such as battery life and app use. It's all clearly labelled and explained, and gathered in one, entirely logical, place to be managed.

    It's fair enough to question whether Google should be collecting all this information in the first place, and whether it should all be enabled by default given that they do. But the idea that this is some kind of shock revelation that had to be uncovered by dedicated researchers is just ridiculous. Just open the settings and read the fucking manual descriptions and Google openly tell you exactly what they're doing and which option controls what. The only way to be confused about this is if you never bother attempting to understand the software you're using and just blindly assume that a setting that happens to contain the word "app" must control anything and everything even vaguely related to apps.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's really not that complicated

      "It's all clearly labelled and explained, and gathered in one, entirely logical, place to be managed."

      Except it keeps changing... I've just discovered new options like 'your contributions' and 'people and places' that didn't exist when I bought this phone 2yr ago.

      Oh, and remember to reset your advertising ID regularly (Google > Ads) as well opting out of Ad Personalisation (should hopefully stop those Russian bribes appearing)

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: It's really not that complicated

        “Russian bribes” I’m in favor of; bribe me, Vlad, bribe me, I’ll take all the cash you send my way. US dollars or GBP only, please. Russian brides, now, some of those cows make dear old Sister Mary Hildegarde look good, even with her mustache and steel ruler. (For those who may have escaped Catholic school, Sister Mary Hildegarde and her accomplices could and would make Marine drill instructors look like Pinky Pie.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's really not that complicated

      Just open the settings and read the fucking manual descriptions and Google openly tell you exactly what they're doing and which option controls what.

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

      Of course, it doesn't want to let me into the menus without a security code that will probably go to the email that I have never used and don't know the password for until I find the old notes from long ago...

      And I had no clue where to look until your post...

  31. TRT Silver badge

    Google Slurp

    My WAP recorded an UPLOAD of 29GB to a Google+ server over the course of 5 hours in the middle of the night, about three weeks ago. I can't recall what Apps I had accidentally left running, but that's utterly ridiculous. It's half of the entire storage of my phone, and about three times as much as all the photo and music data on there combined.

    The only Google apps I have on there are Ingress, Hangouts and Translate. I deleted maps and all the other Google gubbins years ago.

    I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them. But they have you over a barrel really.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google Slurp

      My WAP recorded an UPLOAD of 29GB to a Google+ server over the course of 5 hours in the middle of the night, about three weeks ago

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

      NoRoot firewall.

      Then deny external data and wifi to everything except browsers and your VPN, and maybe, what you are using at the moment.

  32. Nifty

    Whats wrong with this picture?

    In Googles reply to the Reg, "that when they (the users) disable the product, we continue to use location to improve the Google experience when they do things like perform a Google search or use Google for driving directions."

    USE but not STORE?

    I do wonder.

  33. graeme leggett

    Not surprised

    Google won't even pay attention when I click "no I don't want to install chrome" up the top right corner when I go to the google homepage. (And that's when I'm logged in to google).

    So ignoring other tickboxes and sliders is hardly a shock.

  34. spold Bronze badge

    People should stop clicking...

    The most common lie on the internet "I have read and understood the privacy policy...". - check box.

    Why would you not review all 30 pages (just checked the PDF) of the Google one?

    Seems reasonable to me..... no?

    :-)

  35. CharlesStreet

    Google etc

    Someone sent me this recently. I think it's very funny, so thought I'd share it.......

    Hello, Gordon's Pizza?

    No sir, it's Google's Pizza.

    Who?

    Google bought the pizza store.

    Ok - I’d like to place an order.

    The usual sir?

    Do you know what my usual is?

    According to caller ID, you always order a 12-slice with extra cheese, sausage & thick crust.

    Yes, that's it.

    May I suggest that you order an 8-slice with ricotta & tomato instead?

    No, I hate vegetables.

    But your cholesterol is not good.

    How do you know?

    Through the subscribers guide, We have the results of your blood tests for the last 7 years.

    Maybe so, but I don’t want that – I already take medicine for high cholesterol.

    But you haven’t taken the medicine regularly. 4 months ago you purchased from Drug Network a box of only 30 tablets.

    I bought more from another drugstore.

    It's not showing on your credit card sir.

    I paid cash.

    But according to your bank statement you did not withdraw any cash.

    I have another source of cash.

    This is not showing on your tax form, unless you got it from an undeclared income.

    To HELL With Pizza. I'm sick of Google, Facebook, Twitter & WhatsApp. I'm going to an island without internet, where there’s no mobile network, & no one to spy on me.

    I understand sir, but you’ll need to renew your PASSPORT, it expired 5 weeks ago.”

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Location history is not the same as location tracking

    Location history is not the same as location tracking. Location history is when Google remembers your previous locations. Location tracking is merely your current location.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't 'sign in with no account' an oxymoron?

    At best i'd expect just a local account created (although the underlying ad-targeting software will complain), at worst, a cloud profile is probably created with SkyNet Google, the blanks being populated as you donate your data in exchange for a usable device....

  38. David McCarthy

    Google Chrome tracking on a PC

    I know that Google are aware of my location, even though I'm not logged in to any of my Google accounts. And, yes, I have the location setting at 'ask' and 'don't track' in Chrome.

    If I load up Google Maps on my PC in Chrome, the default location shown is where I live. I have NOT set the 'Home' location.

    If I load up Bing Maps in Chrome, the default location is the town where my ISP is based (some 90 miles away). The same happens if I load Google Maps in Firefox.

    This shows Microsoft doesn't know where I am (or is smart enough not to let me know that they know), but Google & Chrome does know where I live.

    There seems to be no equivalent "Web and App Activity" setting in Chrome.

    And I always thought Microsoft were the worst of the baddies!

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Location" = GPS, or Tower Triangulation, or both?

    These little details should be mentioned...

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