In the wake of the likes of Apple being questioned over their alleged ‘peeping tom’ ness, Google Inc.’s practices too have come to light. However, unlike Apple, Google has come out and has been defending its actions.
We track you, too!
In an analytical report by a security firm, it was found out that the Android phone accumulated the phone data, and sent it over to Google a number of times in an hour. Apple, although largely stayed mum about its intentions, disclosed in a letter that although it did collect location data, it did so only occasionally.
Apple however clarifies that all the location-based settings are chosen by the user themselves and that if they choose to turn-it off they can do so. By turning off, they would miss services like maps, though. An interesting aspect here would be the context of the usage of the term ‘opt-in’. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the opt-in feature isn’t a default off one. Infact, on activating their Android phone, a user gets a message saying that Google's service provides location to applications and that it will collect anonymous data even without any apps functioning. Google however defended itself saying all the data that goes to the Google’s services is completely anonymous by nature and cannot be traced back to the user.
Unconvinced by Google’s claims, several tests were carried out on the Android phone which revealed the exchange of a unique ID between the users’ phone and the server. Yet again, Google defended saying that nothing apart from the location of the user was revealed via this ID, and that the user could also change that. This procedure included performing a ‘factory reset’ of the phone, thereby erasing all data.