Google Employees Shared Concerns Over Location Tracking, Arizona Lawsuit Reveals –

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Google Employees Shared Concerns Over Location Tracking, Arizona Lawsuit Reveals – fr


An ongoing lawsuit against Google by the Arizona attorney general’s office, which alleges the tech giant continued to collect location information even when users turned off tracking, has revealed that some of the company’s own employees Google were concerned about the company’s practices after a report. detailing the controversy has been published.

“The reality is that the things we have discovered are shocking,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich told FOX Business in an interview last week. “It just confirms that Google is doing everything it can to spy on anything it can, without telling anyone. “

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Brnovich’s office sued Google in May last year, alleging that the tech giant used deceptive and unfair practices to track the location of users, even if they opted out – and used that information. to target users with ads generating more than $ 130 billion in revenue in 2019.

The practice was originally revealed after an Associated Press article in 2018 reported that Google could continue to track users’ locations even after they denied Google access to “location history” . The outlet reported that even with location history paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped data without a prompt, like storing a snapshot of a location just as someone opens their app. “Maps”.

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Google then changed its privacy settings, but Brnovich launched the lawsuit in May 2020 – part of a larger anti-Big Tech campaign by Republican attorneys general and lawmakers. The state alleges that Google acted deceptively, misleading consumers.

“We claim that when consumers try to opt out of Google’s collection of location data, the company continues to find deceptive ways to obtain that information and then use it to their financial advantage,” Brnovich told FOX Business.

Google accused Arizona of misinterpreting what Google is doing and that the lawsuit was encouraged by Oracle – which has fought with Google in court over the rights to the software code used in its Android software. Bloomberg News reported how Oracle lobbied regulators and law enforcement agencies in the United States and the EU to attack Google, including over privacy concerns.

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“The attorney general and our competitors behind this lawsuit have done everything possible to misrepresent our services,” Google spokesman José Castañeda told Fox News. “We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We are eager to set the record straight. ”

As part of the discovery process, emails between Google engineers sent following the AP 2018 article show that they were concerned about the practice and believed the concerns raised in the article were valid. Some of these emails went public last year, but others have been posted recently as the process continues.

“So there is no way you can give your location to a third-party app and not to Google?” It doesn’t sound like something we would want on the front page of the NYT, ”said an employee in a new, unedited section, first reported by The Miroir Arizona.

“I agree with the article. Location has to mean location, not except for this or that case, ”said another.

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“Real people just think in terms of ‘location on’, ‘location off’ because that’s exactly what you have on the front screen of your phone,” said another.

Brnovich says the emails indicate that Google employees knew what he was doing would upset customers.

“What we’ve discovered so far, I believe, shows that Google themselves understand and appreciate that what they’re doing is something devious and something that would piss off consumers if they knew it,” a- he declared. “So the fact that they’re trying to hide what they’re doing, they’re sneaky about it, and using every trick in the arsenal to prevent this from happening is all consumers need to know about. Google’s intentions. “

As for the outcome of the lawsuit, Brnovich told FOX Business the state will continue to dismiss Google employees over the case, and there will be another periodic status update next month. He thinks the case will likely go to trial next year.

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While there have been a number of Republican efforts to crack down on Big Tech’s influence, whether it’s privacy concerns or alleged censorship by companies like Twitter, Brnovich denies he’s is acting out of a partisan issue.

“This is not a Republican or Democratic issue,” he said. When we launched this investigation to protect Arizona consumers in Arizona state court, it was unique and it was different and it was revolutionary. “

He also recognizes that fighting a massive company like Google is a tough climb.

“Google has an army of lawyers and lobbyists, and they have done everything they can to procedurally prevent the merits of the trial from being examined and quite frankly to hide what they are doing,” a- he declared.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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