#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 2°C Wednesday 14 April 2021

Google records people's movements even when told not to

The privacy issue affects some two billion Android users and hundreds of millions of iPhone users worldwide.

Image: Shutterstock/BigTunaOnline

GOOGLE RECORDS PEOPLE’S movements even when explicitly told not to do so.

An Associated Press investigation shows that using Google services on Android devices and iPhones allows the company to record your whereabouts as you go about your day, even if you’ve used privacy settings that are supposed to prevent it from doing so.

Google stores time-stamped location data when its Maps app is simply opened.

Automatic, daily weather updates pinpoint roughly where you are. And some searches that have nothing to do with location, like ‘chocolate chip cookies’, are pinned with precise coordinates down to the square foot to your Google account.

The privacy issue affects some two billion users of Android devices and hundreds of millions of worldwide iPhone users who rely on Google for maps or online searches.


Lawmakers are vowing to step up their oversight of the data collection practices of giant technology companies, on foot of the investigation.

US Senator Mark Warner of Virginia said in a statement that if a Google user disables the setting, called Location History, it is “perfectly reasonable for that person to expect that apps will not continue tracking their location”.

Warner said the fact it does not is a “frustratingly common” experience for technology users. He has called for policies that give users more control over their data and levy stiff penalties on firms that violate user trust and expectations.

Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey said Congress needs to take action to protect consumers and is calling for public hearings.

About the author:

Associated Press

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel