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Google tracks unsuspecting users, and now lawmakers are demanding action

Google tracks unsuspecting users, and now lawmakers are demanding action
[Animation: Nicolas Van Leekwijck/Unsplash]

Yesterday, the Associated Press published a report about Google products that track users’ location even if they tried to stop it in their privacy settings. Essentially, even with location tracking turned off, the company still checks the data point when users open the Maps app or do searches.

Google, according to the AP, claims that it is clear with its data tracking practices. “There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people’s experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services,” a spokesperson told the outlet.

Yet that reason may not be enough. Lawmakers are now saying they want to look into this privacy practice. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia and Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey’s 6th district have both decried the practice, calling for tougher privacy legislation. The FTC is already investigating Facebook’s privacy, and this development could expand the scope of its inquiry.

The FTC declined to comment when I asked for more information. Politico reported that past FTC officials believe the company’s actions could warrant heightened scrutiny. We’ll see if that’s the case.

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