Google Tracks You with Location History Off

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by FrgMstr, Aug 13, 2018.

  1. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    I would seem that the Associated Press has uncovered something very nasty about Google and its smartphone tracking. The AP is telling us that some Google apps track your location even when you have turned it off. Google has countered, saying that it is being perfectly clear, that you have to turn off "Location History" and "Web and App Activity" if you want to not be physically tracked at all. Well that seems perfectly clear to us...not. Below is my sum total of movement since I started the Threadripper review. Yep, tracking is working on my phone.


    Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you’ve been. Google’s support page on the subject states: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

    That isn’t true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking.
     
  2. scojer

    scojer 2[H]4U

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    Google needs to go back to not being evil, and turning off location history should turn it off for everything.

    Stupid apps - this is why I have next to nothing installed on my device, and don't carry it with me everywhere I go.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  3. Master_shake_

    Master_shake_ [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.

    Wait what's the opposite of shocked?

    I'm that.
     
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  4. HeadRusch

    HeadRusch [H]ard|Gawd

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    "According to Google, you go to work every day and then lead a quiet life on the weekends." so your inbox gets flooded with advertisements for Anti-Depressants and "THIS WEEKEND ONLY!" sales on shit you seem to have an interest in....how did they *know*!?!?!?! :)
     
  5. Hatriot

    Hatriot Limp Gawd

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    Since the left loves regulation because government bureaucrats know better than the average citizen, I say F Google and regulate the hell out of them. At least the FCC should ding them for suppressing certain political speech since the NN people say the internet is a public utility.
     
  6. H2R2P2

    H2R2P2 Limp Gawd

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    Here is the problem with regulation... The Tech Companies already own everyone in Washington. Want to take a guess on who is #1 in Lobbyist spending? If you guessed Google (Alphabet) you'd be correct:
    https://www.businessinsider.com/tec...most-on-lobbying-2016-12#6-pandora-1000000-12
     
  7. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Who in here thought that they had any kind of privacy when using an always on-line device?
     
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  8. LigTasm

    LigTasm [H]ardness Supreme

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    There were people that didn't know this? I always went into it with the assumption that they monitor and log everything I do.
     
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  9. Joust

    Joust 2[H]4U

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    Well. I've seen CSI. So there's like two certainties:

    1) They're checking for semen
    2) They're going to trace the perp's cellphone.
     
  10. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I know regulation is a dirty word for many of you around here, but at this point I don't see how we will ever get a handle on privacy again without strong regulation.

    I've given it a lot of thought over the years, and would propose something like this:

    1.) No organization shall collect, store, monetize or use user data without the explicit consent of the user, and when the users consent is given it must be for a specific purpose, and only for this specific purpose, no blanket permissions.

    2.) Data may only be used for the exact purpose which it was collected or shared, even if posted publicly. This includes any and all data harvesting or mining.

    3.) It must be made illegal to withhold or alter services if a user decides not to provide consent.

    4.) If you offer a service for free that collects data on its users, you must also offer said service for free to those who elect not to consent to shared data. Same if you offer a paid service, this service must be offered at the same price regardless of whether users opt in or not.

    5.) All data sharing options must default to decline sharing.

    6.) Some services require user data in order to function. In this case the data may be collected, but may not be used for any other purpose than directly providing the service unless the user explicitly opts in, as in #1

    7.) You may ask your users to support you, by voluntarily agreeing to share their data, but if they decline you may not spam them with requests. If they decline, you must wait one year before asking again.

    8.) All previous user data collected, not in compliance with the above must be permanently erased.

    9.) Context based advertising based entirely on what is currently on screen, and does not store any user data is not prohibited by these rules.

    10.) The rules above apply to all organizations operating on U.S. soil or with any presence in the U.S. regardless of the nationality of the users, AND to organizations operating anywhere in the word with users located in the U.S.

    11.) Minimum fines of $1,000 per database record per day to be assessed for any non-compliance

    12.) If the offending organization cannot be fined (due to bankruptcy or location outside of jurisdiction) any subsidiary or parent organization inside U.S. jurisdiction will be assessed in their place.

    13.) Exemption: Credit agencies are exempted from these regulations, however, credit agency data may only be used to check credit history in support of a loan application, and then only after an end user has requested a line of credit. The data may not be shared or used for marketing purposes. The credit agency data may not be monetized in any other way except by charging a fee to a financial institution looking to assess the risk of a loan provided to a person.

    14.) Exemption: Background checks. Similarly Background checks are exempted from these rules, but may only be used to establish the civil infraction and criminal backgrounds of any person, and only by prospective employers (private persons or companies) Background check data may not be monetized in any other way except a fee to the requesting company or person.

    I understand this would be very harmful to the social media industry. I don't harbor any ill will against the industry, but privacy is important enough that it must be saved at ANY cost.
     
  11. Ur_Mom

    Ur_Mom I'm Not Serious

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    It should be that when location monitoring is off, it's off.

    However, I always assume that they monitor and log everything I do, as well. Everything, regardless of what my settings are. If I'm wanting to do something considered private, I'll use other methods (still trackable, but a lot less so).
     
  12. Spaceninja

    Spaceninja [H]ard|Gawd

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    Don't use an Android phone, don't use anything with Facebook, Google and so on's hooks in it.
     
  13. Joust

    Joust 2[H]4U

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    I'm all about responsible and efficient regulation, if and only if, necessary.

    Entities collect and sell info. In many cases, that's the price you pay for admission. Accept, you get access. Decline, you don't. I would be very opposed to forcing entities to give their products away for free.
     
  14. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Was Alex Jones right again?
     
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  15. Nytegard

    Nytegard 2[H]4U

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    A lot of people. I mean, who seriously reads the fine print? It's the same thing with a lot of issues, i.e. microtransactions and children spending their parents. Someone, somewhere, will complain that it's all their, black and white, clear as crystal. And exactly like Wonka's contract, somewhere in these contracts you sign, you're handing over your right to all privacy. And many aren't aware enough to care until someone they don't like uses their personal information.

    I do find it funny. The police and the government can't take your information and record everything you say without at minimum a warrant. Yet these private companies have made people today voluntarily, and enthusiastically give up everything.
     
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  16. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Lol if it's online it's being tracked...
     
  17. Joust

    Joust 2[H]4U

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    Companies don't make you do anything. They offer you a service. Want it? The terms are what they are.
     
  18. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    The problem is that many of these services have become a social must in modern society. You can choose to not use them, but then you are also choosing to isolate yourself from modern society. It's not a real choice.

    My suggestions wouldn't force these entities to give away their products for free, but would just force them to reconsider their business models. It's not saying g they can't charge for their services, but it is saying that they cannot use a model in which personal data is any part of the payment.

    Essentially, nothing of value may ever be exchanged for personal data, either yours or anyone elses. Or in other words, data about me can never be the property of anyone but me.

    Besides, for these companies, their publicly available services are not their true products. We are their true products.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  19. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Lol go outside and talk to someone instead
     
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  20. Ur_Mom

    Ur_Mom I'm Not Serious

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    At some point if it gets bad enough, shouldn't someone step in to stop exploitation of the consumer?

    We have a lot of protections out there. Do not call list (doesn't work), Fair Credit act, HIPAA, PCI, etc. that protect consumers. Should we let those go away and let them sell, trade, use our data in any way they please? Or is it just Google and others that get the free pass as that's their 'product' they are selling?

    While much of this is business as usual and I'm not super upset about it, I believe that they are purposely being shady about it. Turn off location services, but continue to gather that information in other ways... We do have too much regulation, and I think a lot of it is way overboard. However, I think that when companies go out of their way to be shady, and they are too big to have any consumer backlash cause them harm, then someone else may need to step in and tell them to stop their shit. Hopefully before new regulation has to be pushed. The whole "make a company do it on their own before the government has to step in".
     
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  21. Joust

    Joust 2[H]4U

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    If my data is my property, should I not be able to trade it for anything?

    Besides, it's totally unworkable. Ok. Now Facebook costs $20 per month. Or $100. If it's a social requirement, as you say, they can charge a hell of a premium. You have to be very, very careful when imposing an artificial sea change among business models and practices. The consequences may be severe.
     
  22. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    That's not really a realistic alternative.

    To use a 20th century example, when every house has a telephone line, you are isolating yourself if you choose to be the only one that doesn't. That's why the telephone companies are regulated as public utilities.

    Sure, you can still go outside and talk to your neighbor, but that's not going to make up for the isolation caused by being the one without the telephone. Society moved on from the turn of the century norm to where the telephone was a necessary tool to function as a normal human being in society.
     
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  23. Joust

    Joust 2[H]4U

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    Every single piece of software that you use has a EULA. Read it. I feel strongly that both the licensor and licensee must abide by the terms.

    I'm not saying the article at issue here isn't a shady practice. I am saying that when you cut off a revenue stream that is relatively harmless to the consumer, you end up (probably) in a worse place.
     
  24. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    There are other alternatives to charging a monthly fee. Contextual ads being the most obvious, but they hire smart people, I'm sure they will devised other revenue sources as well.

    The thing is, these are only necessary services as long as they have a critical mass of users. If they charge unreasonable fees, they stand to lose critical mass, and this cease to be necessary.
     
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  25. Joust

    Joust 2[H]4U

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    Ok. So call someone.

    There is not a single app that is so critical to the consumer that it is in the 'utility' category. Not one.
     
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  26. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    There are plenty of precedents for this.

    You can't - for instance - legally sell your kidney or your blood.
     
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  27. talk2troy

    talk2troy [H]ardness Supreme

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  28. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    That would require isolating yourself from the culture of the day. There is literally not a way of doing this without turning into that weirdo hermit who is socially isolated.
     
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  29. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Besides, we get most of our information we need to survive in society these days from our internet connected devices, not from making phone calls.

    If anything, these devices are even more of a utility than the telephone is in modern society.
     
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  30. Joust

    Joust 2[H]4U

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    I am very socially active and do not use any social media (other than LinkedIn). I think that is an inaccurate extrapolation.
     
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  31. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I think it has been proven time and time again that this is NOT harmless in the slightest. Whenever data is collected it becomes the target of abuse, whether it be from the company collecting it themselves, or criminals stealing the data or governments.

    The only way to make sure data is not abused is to make sure the data doesn't exist in the first place.

    The normalization of mass surveillance and collection of people's private data may be one of the most harmful developments of all of our modern times.
     
  32. kju1

    kju1 2[H]4U

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    Go back to not being evil? I think I have a bridge for sale...

    Google has always done what is in the best interest for Google.
     
  33. Ur_Mom

    Ur_Mom I'm Not Serious

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    I'd love to see Google fix this on their own. Yes, I think if the government put regulations in place, it'd cause more harm (they typically go overboard and/or do things that don't really correct the issue, just move the problem elsewhere). At their size, I just don't think consumer backlash would give them the slap in the face they need to correct it.
     
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  34. DPI

    DPI Nitpick Police

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    About the atomic race of lizard people that live under the crust of the earth? Yes the Overlord had been right all along, god help us at The Reckoning!
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  35. Joust

    Joust 2[H]4U

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    Yeah...but mostly, it's harmless. That's why there isn't a groundswell of people bitching about it.

    Dude, look - conceptually I agree with you. However, there's a pragmatic issue here. ALL of this information is logged at some point. All of it. That ship has long-since sailed.

    Hell. There are logs of this very discussion. There are logs of me LOOKING at this discussion - and everyone else. I mean, seriously. The idea that you can manuver through all the infrastructure necessary to do the things we do today as a matter of course without putting out gobs of data? Harvestable, even for the most legit reasons, data.
     
  36. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    You don't seem to get it. It's more than just social media. Every single service out there is collecting your data and trying to monetize it these days.

    Have a cell phone? Even an old dumb flip phone? Your cell carrier is collecting and monetizing your location and call/text metadata.

    Go even further? Do you have a smartphone? Any smartphone? It's probably listening to sounds around you and attempting to build a profile on you, even if you don't use any third party apps.

    Ever go on the internet? Your ISP is tracking your metadata, and even attaching unique tracking information to every TCP packet leaving your home.

    Your email provider is also collecting data from every email you send and receive.

    Watch TV? Your cable box is collecting data on your viewing habits.

    Want to partake in popular culture and stream shows from the likes of Netflix or other services? More data collection. Oh and the device or smart TV you use to stream that content is probably listening to you as well.

    You can't even make a goddamned restaurant reservation many places without being tracked somehow these days.

    Do you ever buy anything in a store? Unless you only use cash you are being tracked there as well.

    Do you ever call a customer service line of any business? You know that statement about "this call may be recorded". Yeah, that's BS. Your call IS being recorded, and turned into speech to text data for collection and analysis, and it's not just for training their customer service representatives.

    So no, it's not just about avoiding using social media. It's gotten to the point where it is so pervasive and built into everything that even a conscientious person trying to avoid being tracked could spend every waking hour researching and disabling things and would still be unable to prevent their data from being harvested by someone somewhere. You can't even avoid being tracked by the social media giants by not using social media. They are buying data on you from other sources too to complete their models.

    And this article proves the point. Even if you think you are being proactive and disabling location history, you are still being tracked.

    You'd literally need to completely go off the grid, not have a bank account and use only cash and become some sort of weirdo hermit.
     
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  37. theBrownLlama

    theBrownLlama Gawd

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    do they get this location data from GPS or something else?
    then we can just restrict app usage of GPS
     
  38. Spidey329

    Spidey329 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I've known they do this. I don't have location on (saves battery) but I do have their Rewards survey app. They're always asking if I visited X store on Y date. Those seem to correspond to a WiFi map.

    I've just assumed they're tracking me constantly with my Pixel2XL.
     
  39. Spidey329

    Spidey329 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Combination of cell signal and WiFi if GPS isn't available.
     
  40. theBrownLlama

    theBrownLlama Gawd

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    does not mean someone shouldn't try to minimize it.

    and continue to encourage any movement , including engaging with grassroot political groups, to limit it.
     
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