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'Apple is eating our lunch': Google employees admit in lawsuit that the company made it nearly impossible for users to keep their location private

Summary

Newly unredacted documents in a lawsuit against Google reveal that the company's own executives and engineers knew just how difficult the company had made it for smartphone users to keep their location data private.

 

Quotes

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Google continued collecting location data even when users turned off various location-sharing settings, made popular privacy settings harder to find, and even pressured LG and other phone makers into hiding settings precisely because users liked them, according to the documents.

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The documents are part of a lawsuit brought against Google by the Arizona attorney general's office last year, which accused the company of illegally collecting location data from smartphone users even after they opted out.

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The unsealed versions of the documents paint an even more detailed picture of how Google obscured its data collection techniques, confusing not just its users but also its own employees.

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When Google tested versions of its Android operating system that made privacy settings easier to find, users took advantage of them, which Google viewed as a "problem," according to the documents. To solve that problem, Google then sought to bury those settings deeper within the settings menu.

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Google also tried to convince smartphone makers to hide location settings "through active misrepresentations and/or concealment, suppression, or omission of facts" — that is, data Google had showing that users were using those settings — "in order to assuage [manufacturers'] privacy concerns."

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"This may be how Apple is eating our lunch," they added, saying Apple was "much more likely" to let users take advantage of location-based apps and services on their phones without sharing the data with Apple.

 

 

My thoughts

Everybody know Google wants your info, this is how they work as a company, but to try to convince smartphone makers to hide location settings? To try and work "through active misrepresentations and/or concealment, suppression, or omission of facts" sounds insane to me, why are they doing this?

 

Sources

https://www.businessinsider.com/unredacted-google-lawsuit-docs-detail-efforts-to-collect-user-location-2021-5?r=US&IR=T

If it ain´t broke don't try to break it.

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5 minutes ago, TheReal1980 said:

why are they do this?

image.png.7fa70d5c43903c9a2ab607f04d8f7e6a.png

 

They know what they are doing, do you think settings are hard to find because a company as big and successful as Google couldn't hire a competent person to make a settings page where settings that a user is likely to change are easy to find? No, they know which settings can lead to less user data being collected, which will result in less revenue for Google, so they aren't going to make it easy to change those settings. 

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I'm utterly shocked at my lack of shock. It's nice to have it move from "Information we know but they can still believably lie about" to "Information only a sociopath can lie about" when it comes to Google's surveillance efforts. (It left "collecting Data for useful ends" a long time ago.) I look forward to even more disclosures coming out.

 

Still, it's going to be interesting to see it all play out. Google has long been under the NSA-DoD NatSec security wing of the US Government power structure. But Google has been unique in its ability to piss off everyone. Watch carefully who starts defending Google when things get further along with this lawsuit. It'll be fascinating to see how many friends Google still has. It's not going to be a lot, at this point.

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Mild Shock GIFs | Tenor

🌲🌲🌲

Judge the product by its own merits, not by the Company that created it.

 

Don't dilute <good thing> by always trying to focus on, and drag conversation back to, <bad thing>.

🌲🌲🌲

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How Google of them

Awareness is key. Never enough, even in the face of futility. Speak the truth as if you may never get to say it again. This world is full of ugly. Change it they say. The only way is to reveal the ugly. To change the truth you must first acknowledge it. Never pretend it isn't there. Never bend the knee.

 

Please quote my post in your reply, so that I will be notified and can respond to it. Thanks.

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It's why I rolled my eyes so hard during their Android 12 keynote I dislodged them during the process. They were literally presenting the "privacy" features through their teeth well knowing everything they are serving is freshly produced bull manure. And to add insult to injury, everything they do, they never enforce any of it like Apple does. So they'll have privacy labels on GooglePlay just like Apple has on App Store. Only difference is, everyone can just lie about it and Google will just be there in the "This is fine" meme. Meanwhile Apple actually punishes developers who lie, do not disclose or make questionable app designs to bypass those things. And they are quite consistent about it. Unlike Google which has shown they do NOTHING about any of it. They just say things to look nice as PR response, but they don't actually mean it.

 

And people always wonder why I believe Apple when they announce something and not Google when they do the same. Apple is in the business of selling devices and services. Google is in the business of data mining and advertisement. Do we really have to always point this out?

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29 minutes ago, Ralphred said:

LineageOS looking more attractive by the day...

that still uses google services. if you want to get away from google, you have to give up Play Services, and therefore the Play Store. 

Resident Apple Sheep - She/Her

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2 minutes ago, Ashley MLP Fangirl said:

that still uses google services. if you want to get away from google, you have to give up Play Services, and therefore the Play Store. 

You make that sound like a big choice, lol. Fuck that goofy play store, to be honest. 😂

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8 minutes ago, GreatnessRD said:

You make that sound like a big choice, lol. Fuck that goofy play store, to be honest. 😂

Alternative is F-Droid which frankly hardly has anything useful and 3rd party app stores that are filled with fake apps, modified apps and just straight up malware. Only few vendors offer APK's officially on their pages for download.

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1 hour ago, TheReal1980 said:

Everybody know Google wants your info, this is how they work as a company, but to try to convince smartphone makers to hide location settings? To try and work "through active misrepresentations and/or concealment, suppression, or omission of facts" sounds insane to me, why are they doing this?

That which is taken from you through connivance and deception was not taken through just means but was stolen from you. Google are thieves and liars who have made themselves a criminal enterprise out of thieving and lying. And nobody should make excuses for them or whitewash that they're doing that, because that is what they're doing. Google is evil.

 

 

As I've said in another thread:

 

The business of harvesting data is a dirty, illegitimate, predatory, and hypocritical one. It is making money through the exploitation and manipulation of people and is a crime - and not just a moral one (though, it is definitely a moral one):

 

What do you think would happen if you were to hook a Bitcoin mining operation up to the electricity supply of some business you don't own, without their permission and without compensating them? If they found out, they would have you arrested and if the operation was significant, they'd sue you, and would probably get to seize any profits you'd made while using their electricity.

 

There's not really even a need to frame things in cryptocoin-mining terms. Imagine that you decided to start using various businesses computers, electricity, employee activities, software, housing, as data farms for your own project, just like they're doing with our PCs. Same thing's going to happen: You'll be arrested and charged, probably sued, and any profits you made will probably be seized and given to the corporation.

 

But tech companies are doing the same thing to us and they're not being punished for it in any way. In generating and harvesting data from our particular usage and via interaction with our devices, tech companies are using our electricity, our hardware, our storage and management of our hardware, our software, our time, our personal activity, for their own commercial purposes, and all without a commercial license. They're stealing. And it's crazy that it's been allowed to progress this far, that the public is in a stupor and doesn't understand that this isn't right.

 

Somehow, the public, governments, and regulators have been lured into a stupor and coma regarding the topic just because tech companies started doing these things before there was any understanding of them, and so now people feel like it's just the way things are. But that's like thinking that stealing what isn't yours and slavery are just the way things are.

 

Tech companies whose business is mining and selling data are stealing from us in the same way that a politician who steals millions of dollars out of the treasury is stealing from their constituents. Even though the millions of dollars they stole amounts to a few dollars, or even less than a dollar per person, the smallness of the stealing from each individual doesn't make it not stealing.

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google just loves to ruin tho whole idea of linux ( for those who don't know most of googles OSs are based on linux kernel)

i hope someone does something about it

/e/ project does not seem pointless anymore

if it was useful give it a like :) btw if your into linux pay a visit here

 

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"Ungoogling" your Android-Device will result in all your banking-apps not being able to work anymore. The core of Android might be open source, but basically everything that makes the ecosystem useful, is part of that Google-Framework they slam on top of it.
This is basically why, Huawei-Phones have been hit that badly when Google was forced to stop dealing with Huawei (the ARM-Chip-Ban was the cherry on top).

 

So you basically have the choice of being spied on, or going Apple. Any remotely useful alternative (Windows Phone or BlackBerry10) was not accepted by the customers (Thanks MS for screwing up so bad).
You could also try any of those "Linux OS" like Jolla's Sailfish OS, but these have the same limitations (if they can run Android Apps, it is without the Google-Framework which is needed by many apps).

 

After jumping from Symbian to MeeGo (Nokia N9, best Phone OS ever... RIP) then to Windows Phone... then to BlackBerry 10... the Nexus 5X felt like a heavy downgrade. After avoiding Apple for the entirety of my life, I now own an iPad... and this pulls me more and more towards buying an iPhone next... but iOS still lacks so many things. (Free Icon Placement!)

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1 hour ago, RejZoR said:

And people always wonder why I believe Apple when they announce something and not Google when they do the same. Apple is in the business of selling devices and services. Google is in the business of data mining and advertisement

Google figured out how to monetize mining your data. Apple figured out how to monetize NOT mining your data, and that's a much emptier market to play in.

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3 hours ago, TheReal1980 said:

Summary

Newly unredacted documents in a lawsuit against Google reveal that the company's own executives and engineers knew just how difficult the company had made it for smartphone users to keep their location data private.

 

Quotes

 

 

My thoughts

Everybody know Google wants your info, this is how they work as a company, but to try to convince smartphone makers to hide location settings? To try and work "through active misrepresentations and/or concealment, suppression, or omission of facts" sounds insane to me, why are they doing this?

 

Sources

https://www.businessinsider.com/unredacted-google-lawsuit-docs-detail-efforts-to-collect-user-location-2021-5?r=US&IR=T

Does this really surprise anyone? Even Windows makes it kind of difficult to turn off features they don't want you turning off.

 

As it's been stated, Android, YOU are the product.

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2 hours ago, Laborant said:

and this pulls me more and more towards buying an iPhone next... but iOS still lacks so many things. (Free Icon Placement!)

I had a work-provided iPhone 7 for awhile, and it was amazing. Now as a part of the company's tech refresh management all iPhone 7s were replaced with the XR, and this thing absolutely sucks.

 

Even then, I would be willing to go for a 12 Mini as my personal device had they not removed the fingerprint reader and the headphone jack. Those two things are a must for me, so I'm stuck with an Android phone for now.

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3 hours ago, TheReal1980 said:

sounds insane to me, why are they doing this?

Money, having the users location is the single most valuable information when it comes to targeted adverts. All of the people who are making these choices are being paid due to the fact that google has this data on all its users.

They likely looked at the change can calculated the lost revenue (it could well be in the Billions of $) loosing location data on 1/2 of android user base could cut googles total revenue be a factor of 5% maybe even more! Very very few companies would every make such a move (apple for sure would not do anything that risks that type of massive cut to revenue... see why they are fighting so hard for app store 30% cut that in total is likely less that 2% of their revenue).

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You know how I beat Googles nonsense? My Pixel 3 is my phone and music player, aside from my banking app (which is simple convenience because fingerprint sign in) I have nothing else on my phone, I don't install things on my phone and I only ever use it to call, text or listen to music.

 

Its by no means a perfect solution but I give them less info about me than most other people.

 

Anything else I need to do I do from Linux on my laptop

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3 hours ago, Video Beagle said:

Google figured out how to monetize mining your data. Apple figured out how to monetize NOT mining your data, and that's a much emptier market to play in.

Yeah, and market in which Apple can play. Google is just desperately trying as the biggest hypocrite.

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2 hours ago, Kisai said:

Does this really surprise anyone? Even Windows makes it kind of difficult to turn off features they don't want you turning off.

 

As it's been stated, Android, YOU are the product.

I would frankly pay for Android if Google removes this shit. I've paid for Windows before,I'll pay for Android now.

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1 hour ago, Master Disaster said:

You know how I beat Googles nonsense? My Pixel 3 is my phone and music player, aside from my banking app (which is simple convenience because fingerprint sign in) I have nothing else on my phone, I don't install things on my phone and I only ever use it to call, text or listen to music.

 

Its by no means a perfect solution but I give them less info about me than most other people.

 

Anything else I need to do I do from Linux on my laptop

Same here. That's why I don't get paying a thousand bucks for any phone. My 4 year old OP6 is still working fine enough, and I will only replace it when I break it, or it becomes too slow.

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And this is why everything under the sun seems to be tied to "location permission", even if it makes no sense in the slightest.
Need to detect wifi networks? Requires location permission.
Need to use bluetooth settings? Requires location permission.
Need to access the internet? Requires location permission*.
*Google: "Lets hope they fall for that"


Yes I know teeeeechnically the reason is because if an app can read what wifi networks are in the area, and there is a wifi network that has a known location (say a public library), then technically the app can know your location.

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I once tried to disable google play services on a phone bloated down with google spyware and it spammed me with hundreds of notifications that quite literally said "Enable google play services." This is why I use a degoogled phone now

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4 minutes ago, DeScruff said:

And this is why everything under the sun seems to be tied to "location permission", even if it makes no sense in the slightest.
Need to detect wifi networks? Requires location permission.
Need to use bluetooth settings? Requires location permission.
Need to access the internet? Requires location permission*.
*Google: "Lets hope they fall for that"


Yes I know teeeeechnically the reason is because if an app can read what wifi networks are in the area, and there is a wifi network that has a known location (say a public library), then technically the app can know your location.

The logic behind a lot of location services is a more precise version of "flyers/circulars" If you are near a 7-11 or a some store, and you have their app, the location services will tell you if there is something in that store you might want. Which is fine when that logic actually makes sense, "Hey 7-11 has 79 cent Slurpee's" vs "Free thing you want with thing you don't want", like 7-11 often sends me ads for coffee or energy drinks and I won't touch either.

 

So would I turn the location services off for that app? Probably. They should be able to get that information from scanning the points card on the phone if they want to know what store I'm shopping at.

 

However Google, or Apple, build their own databases of WiFi AP's because they use it for google or apple maps. Instead of relying on GPS indoors, they rely on WiFi AP's to know if the user is inside certain locations (that have free wifi)

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