Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich accused tech titan Google of unauthorized data collection. He alleged that Google allegedly tracked user location via third-party apps. This occurs even when WiFi-connected devices have location services switched off.
Google Employees Share Concerns
According to a report by the AZ Mirror, employees of Google shared their concerns. They felt that eventually, media outlets such as the New York Times will discover the truth.
According to a Google employee as quoted in a previously redacted section. “So there is no way to give a third-party app your location and not Google? This doesn’t sound like something we would want on the front page of the NYT.”
The Arizona media outlet explained that the current complaint against Google is part of an ongoing consumer fraud lawsuit Brnovich first filed in May 2020.
The lawsuit alleges that Google’s data collection schemes violated the state’s Consumer Fraud Act. In addition, Google requested the court to remove large portions of the lawsuit. Brnovich then led a legal battle versus Google on what information can be made public.
Associated Press Article
The Arizona lawsuit over Google’s data collection practices started when Brnovich came into an Associated Press article in 2018. The article, titled “Google tracks your movements, like it or not,” piqued the Attorney General enough into starting an investigation.
“Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to,” the article reported. “An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so.”
Google’s Data Collection Practices Are ‘Shocking Stuff’
“The reality is that the stuff we’ve uncovered is shocking,” Brnovich said. “It just confirms that Google is doing everything it can to spy on everyone it can, without providing any sort of notice to anyone.
We allege when consumers try to opt-out of Google collecting location data, the company is continuing to find misleading ways to obtain that information and then use it for their financial advantage,” he added.
Meanwhile, Google spokesperson José Castañeda accused both Arizona’s Attorney General and Google’s competitors of “mischaracterizing” the company and its services.
“The Attorney General 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,” he explained.
Location Off Should Mean Location Off
According to the formerly-redacted documents, another Google employee gave an opinion that Google might have gone too far. “I agree with the article.
Location off should mean location off, not except for this case or that case,” the unidentified employee said. “Real people just think in terms of ‘location is on,’ ‘location is off because that is exactly what you have on the front screen of your phone,” another anonymous employee added.
Brnovich thinks Google has a lot of explaining to do. “What we’ve uncovered so far, I believe, shows that Google themselves understand and appreciate that what they are doing is something that is sneaky and something that would piss off consumers if they knew about it.
So the fact they are trying to hide what they are doing, they are being sneaky about it, and using every trick in the arsenal to stop this from seeing the light of day is all consumers need to know about Google’s intentions,” he said.
Watch Louis Rossman’s video reporting that tech giant Google is in hot water with the Arizona Attorney General over privacy concerns:
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