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Google intentionally made smartphone privacy settings hard to find, documents suggest

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Documents from a Google lawsuit in Arizona were unredacted, revealing that engineers and executives were aware that the company purposely made privacy settings hard to find for smartphone users.

The documents reveal that Google gathered users’ location data, even when they turned off location sharing. Google also made the privacy settings hard to find.

It’s also been revealed that Google pushed phone brands to keep the privacy settings hidden.

If you remember, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit against Google in May of 2020. It alleges that Google was illegally tracking Android users’ location without their knowledge despite disabling the tracking features.

The lawsuit said that Google kept the location tracking active in the background for some features and only disabled it when the user turned off system-level tracking.

Moreover, the redacted document reveals that a Google employee asked if there was “no way to give a third party app your location and not Google?”. The employee added that it looks like something Google didn’t want to show to the media.

In a statement, Google spokesperson José Castañeda said:

“(Brnovich) and our competitors driving this lawsuit have gone out of their way to mischaracterize our services. We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We look forward to setting the record straight.”

Source: The Verge

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