Privacy Group Tells FTC Google Tracking Violated 2011 Order

A privacy group said in a letter sent to the Federal Trade Commission Friday that Google violated the terms of a 2011 settlement due to exposed practices in an Associated Press report this week.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center has indicated in the letter to the FTC that Google’s registration of time-stamped location data – even after users have disabled a setting called Location History – “clearly violates” the regulation of 2011.

The center lobbied the FTC to act on Google nearly a decade ago. This led to the regulation by which Google accepted a 20-year monitoring regime and committed not to distort the degree of control of private data by users.

Three days after the publication of AP’s story, Google altered an explanation of the help page but did not change he follow up.

The AP investigation revealed that even if location history was disabled, Google stores the location of the user when, for example, the Google Maps application is open or when users perform Google searches unrelated to the location. Automated local weather searches on some Android phones also store the location of the phone.

Critics say Google’s insistence on tracking the location of its users stems from its desire to increase its advertising revenue. It can make advertisers pay more for restricting ad serving to people who have visited certain sites.

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