Google made it hard to find privacy settings
The executives and engineers were in a company Google is aware that the search giant has made it difficult for smartphone users to keep location information private.
This information is according to for documents In the lawsuit filed by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office against the company last year.
The lawsuit accused the company of illegally collecting location data from smartphone users even after opting out.
The search giant continued to collect location data even when users turned off various location sharing settings.
It made common privacy settings difficult to find, and pressured phone manufacturers to hide the settings.
Jack Menzel, the former vice president who oversees Google Maps, admitted this during his testimony.
“The only way to prevent Google from locating a user’s home is if that person intentionally sets the home address as a random location,” he said.
Jin Chai, Google’s senior product manager in charge of location services, was unaware of how the company’s complex network of privacy settings interacted with one another..
Google is hiding the facts:
A judge has ordered the disclosure of the documents because it is in the public’s interest to know Google’s use of its legal resources to prevent scrutiny of data collection practices.
The documents explain how Google blocks its data-collection technologies, confusing its users and employees as well.
Google uses a variety of methods to collect user location data, including wireless network and non-affiliated third-party applications.
This forces users to share data in order to use these apps or connect phones to the wireless network.
When I tested versions of Android that made it easier to find privacy settings, users took advantage of them, which Google saw as a problem.
To solve this problem, the search giant then sought to put those settings deep into the settings menu.
It also tried to convince smartphone makers to hide the settings by distorting data showing that users were using those settings.
Google employees seemed to realize that users were frustrated with the company’s aggressive data-collection practices, which could hurt its business.