Google hides privacy settings and makes them harder to find, according to unedited Arizona lawsuits cited in a U.S. report. Google is said to have continued to collect location data even when key location sharing was turned off. The documents also reveal that Google’s own executives and engineers know how difficult it is for smartphone users to keep their location data confidential. Last year, the Arizona Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the technology giant for unethical data collection practices for Android, and unedited documents from the case were published online.
The unedited documents were the first available from Business Insider, and they report that Google continues to collect location data even when location sharing settings have been turned off. A judge ordered the new sections of the documents to be unedited last week in response to a request from the Digital Content Next and News Media Alliance trade groups.
The documents reveal this Google OEMs under pressure like LG to hide the settings “just because users like them” and made it harder to find popular privacy settings, according to the report. The technology giant is said to have collected users’ location data through various methods such as Wi-Fi or third-party applications that are not connected to Google.
“This may be the way Apple eats our lunch,” Google officials said in the deposit, adding that Apple does not have access to the location through third-party applications.
The documents, according to the report, also reveal that Google is deliberately obscuring its data collection practices by confusing users and its own employees. Former Google Maps vice president Jack Menzel admitted during the filing that the only way “Google will not be able to understand the location of the home and the user’s work is if that person intentionally removes Google from the tracks by setting their home and work addresses some other random locations ”.
According to the documents cited in the report, when Google tests more accessible privacy settings, it can be seen that most users take advantage of them. To avoid this, Google is said to have resorted to burying these settings deeper in the menu, making them harder to find. The documents reportedly claim that Google has even gone so far as to force OEMs to hide location settings “through active misrepresentations and / or concealment, suppression or omission of facts.”