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Google Tracks Location Even When Location History Is Turned Off Class Action

Google, Inc. tells users of its Android phone system and apps that they can turn off the Location History function and it will not track them and store their locations. The complaint for this class action claims that this is false—that even if Location History is turned off, Google still tracks people by their mobile phones and records their locations, violating privacy laws.

Two classes have been proposed for this action.

  • The Android Class is all natural persons living in the US who own Android mobile phones, who turned off Location History, and whose location information was nonetheless recorded and used by Google.
  • The iPhone Class is all natural persons living in the US how own Apple mobile phones, who turned off Location History and whose location information was nonetheless recorded and used by Google.

Google makes the Android operating system as well as apps that can be used on Apple iPhones. It therefore has access to mobile phones of the two main operating systems in the US today.

According to the complaint, Google has long told users that it they turn off the Location History setting, their locations will no longer be recorded. (The Location History function can be accessed as an Android phone setting; Apple users must access their Google accounts to turn it off.) It has claimed, “With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

But in an August 13, 2018 article entitled, “AP Exclusive: Google tracks your movements, like it or not,” the Associated Press reports that Google technology still records locations; it just makes the record inaccessible to the user. This report, the complaint says, has been corroborated by cybersecurity researchers.

In response to the report, the complaint claims, Google revised its description on its Help page for the Location History setting. The new description says, in part, “This setting does not affect other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device. Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps.”

What the new description does not do is point users to the only way to truly prevent the recording of locations—the Web & App Activity setting. The complaint claims that Google “obfuscates the fact” that this setting is related to location.

According to the complaint, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has found that tracking users without their permission is a deceptive trade practice. This came in connection with a settlement agreement in a case against a company called InMobi PTE that tracked users without their knowledge or consent so that it could give them geo-targeted advertisements. The settlement required InMobi to delete all the location information it had collected without consent.

The complaint claims that Google has committed intrusion upon seclusion and has violated California’s Constitutional Right to Privacy as well as the California Invasion of Privacy Act.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Google Tracks Location Even When Location History Is Turned Off Complaint

August 17, 2018

Google, Inc. tells users of its Android phone system and apps that they can turn off the Location History function and it will not track them and store their locations. The complaint for this class action claims that this is false—that even if Location History is turned off, Google still tracks people by their mobile phones and records their locations, violating privacy laws. 

google_unlawful_geolocating_consumers_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

Google Tracks Location Even When Location History Is Turned Off Complaint

August 17, 2018

Google, Inc. tells users of its Android phone system and apps that they can turn off the Location History function and it will not track them and store their locations. The complaint for this class action claims that this is false—that even if Location History is turned off, Google still tracks people by their mobile phones and records their locations, violating privacy laws. 

google_unlawful_geolocating_consumers_complaint.pdf
Tags: Collecting Personal Data Without Notice/Consent, Your Privacy