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Ex-Google TechLead on the difference between rich programmers and poor programmers.
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The lawsuit, filed against Google by Arizona’s Attorney General, alleges that the tech giant uses “deceptive and unfair conduct” to obtain users’ location data.
Google has been hit by a lawsuit alleging that it violates user privacy by collecting location data via various means – and claiming that Google makes it nearly “impossible” for users to opt out of such data tracking.
The lawsuit, filed by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, alleges that Google uses “deceptive and unfair conduct” to obtain Android users’ location data via various applications, services and technologies, which is then used for advertising purposes. The alleged data collection would violate the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act, a set of laws that give protections to consumers in various transactions related to the sale or advertisement of merchandise.
“Google has engaged in these deceptive and unfair acts and practices with the purpose of enhancing its ability to collect and profit from user-location information,” according to the 50-page complaint, which was filed Wednesday in the Maricopa County Superior Court. “And profited it has, to the tune of over $134 billion in advertising revenue in 2019 alone. On information and belief, hundreds of millions of dollars of these advertising revenues were generated from ads presented to millions of users in the State of Arizona.”
Public consternation around Google’s data-collection policies was first set off by a 2018 Associated Press report, which claimed that Google services that are prevalent on both Android and iOS phones all store location data. The report alleged that Google would track users’ data even when they opt out of Google’s Location History feature, which collects data in order to personalize Google Maps.
This most recent lawsuit claims that Google’s alleged deceptive tactics extend beyond the issues with Location History highlighted by AP’s report. The redacted, public complaint claims that Google uses other means to bring in location data – including via Wi-Fi scanning and connectivity, diagnostic data and information from Google apps in “recent versions of Android.” This makes it impractical – and even impossible – for users to opt out of location tracking, the lawsuit alleges.
“Given the lucrative nature of Google’s advertising business, the company goes to great lengths to collect users’ location, including through presenting users with a misleading mess of settings, some of which seemingly have nothing to do with the collection of location information,” said the lawsuit.
According to Brnovich, these claims are based on both testimony from Google employees “given under oath” and from internal documents that were obtained from Google over the course of a nearly two-year investigation.
Google, for its part, argued against the claims and told Threatpost that it looks forward “to setting the record straight.”
#mobile security #privacy #android #arizona attorney general #data privacy #google #google lawsuit #location data #location data privacy #location history #mobile privacy
![A diagram outlining the three levels of privacy sensitivity; from high to low: personal data, location data, Bluetooth data.]
The three different levels of privacy sensitivity of COVID-19 apps.
I went on, “other apps are only relying on location tracking. GPS can be accurate up to a few centimeters.” I knew that HowWeFeel uses that option with anonymous user identifiers . This app was developed by a team of scientists and Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann. It is recommended by the Governor of Connecticut . Likely people here in Middletown, where I live, are using it. So, maybe that was something of interest. But as the mayor showed no reaction I continued, “at the least sensitive end of the spectrum we have apps that are just using Bluetooth beacons to detect whether two phones are in proximity. Bluetooth will not keep track of locations,” I said. “Imagine two unrelated people, Michael and Ralf, standing side by side at a bus stop. The sensors in Michael’s and Ralf’s phones are just picking up a random string of characters from each other. If Michael shows symptoms of the disease, he can upload his string to a server. All other phones, including Ralf’s, are periodically downloading the strings from there. Once Michael’s string matches the string already on Ralf’s phone, Ralf is notified that he was in contact with a symptomatic person. This form of contact tracing is used in Apple’s and Google’s ExposureNotification . It is the least privacy sensitive approach.” The mayors face lit up. “That’s great,” she said, “but do you think it will actually work?” “That’s a good question,” I replied. As the mayor had other work to do, we agreed that I would research this question and we would touch base again in a few days.
#mobile-apps #privacy-technologies #privacy-protection #privacy #covid19
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a beautiful piece of technology made to seamlessly augment our everyday experience. It is widely utilized in everything starting from marketing to even traffic light moderation in cities like Pittsburg. However, swords have two edges and the AI is no different. There are a fair number of upsides as well as downsides that follow such technological advancements.
One way or another, the technology is moving too quickly while the education about the risks and safeguards that are in place are falling behind for the vast majority of the population. The whole situation is as much of a blessing for humankind as it is a curse.
In this article, we will be mainly discussing how the AI is being utilized, how the ease of processing data-enabled companies and government agencies to have power over online privacy, and how to stay careful of possible abuses of said power.
#data-privacy #privacy #artificial-intelligence #security #cybersecurity #online-privacy #ai #ml
Data privacy has been all the talk in the tech sector as of late. With the emergence of smartphones over a decade ago, our entire lives have been put online. Our behaviors and thoughts have been monitored not just through Facebook status updates, but through applications and browser tracking page visits, link clicks, and google searches. Everything we do on our phones is recorded and collected as data used for a variety of purposes from personal safety to advertising. In recent months, data privacy, or rather a lack thereof, has come to the forefront of tech conversations. With Apple launching an increased effort to protect users’ privacy, the personal data world as we know is about to change.
Have you ever wondered how your ads on various web pages know exactly what you like? Or how Amazon knows exactly what purchase to suggest next? All of this is due to data collected on your phone that goes by the term cookies. A cookie is a small text file from a website you visit that attaches to your browser.
While cookies have been around for quite some time, users have begun to question just how much data they have access to. There has been a recent push in protecting user data and data privacy. Because of this, tech giants like Apple and Google have taken steps to reduce the amount of data applications and browsers have access to. Their smartphones now prompt users to choose which platforms are allowed to track their online behaviors.
This severely limits the access that businesses and advertisers can have to large sums of personal data. So you might be wondering, is increased data privacy all good? Like all things, it has its upsides and downsides and boils down to personal preference.
#data #privacy #data-privacy #data-protection #cookies #internet-data-privacy