Ever Wondered why Google Insists on Tracking You and How You Can Stop this Tracking?
Google knows everywhere you go. Any regular user of Google Maps should be aware of this fact. Writing for CNBC, tech guy, Todd Haselton says he recently performed Google’s Privacy Check-up to try to find out exactly what Google knew about him, and his findings were quite surprising. Google knew everything, to “a creepy level of detail”.
In his words, “I picked a random date: April 16, 2019. It knew everywhere I went, including that I took Interstate 95 to our office in northern New Jersey and that I arrived at 7:58 a.m. It knew that at 1:02 p.m. I drove to Jersey City and took a train into Manhattan to the New York Stock Exchange before returning home at 4:38 p.m. And it has a copy of the pictures I took at each location.”
According to Google, the data stored is only visible to the user. A user's location history is collected in order to create a private map of where they go with their signed-in devices even when they aren’t using a specific Google service. In their words, the data collected is intended to provide “improved map searches and commute routes, as well as helping you to rediscover the places you’ve been and the routes you’ve traveled.”
However, these reasons are really hard to believe. The average person remembers a route they have used before. Google does not have to store this information as it is almost useless to users. As a matter of fact, this information might be more harmful than useful to a user because someone else might be able to access this data and use it for foul purposes, despite Google promising that it’s private.
Google’s location policy has always been seen as dubious and questionable. In 2019, the Associated Press reported that Google stored users’ locations even when “Location History” was turned off on iPhones and Android devices. After this story was leaked, the tech giant edited its help page. A San Diego man had back then, filed a lawsuit against the company. Activists had also questioned whether the practice conflicted with the company’s 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission.
CBNC suggests ways to stop Google from storing your location history. And they are as follows:
- First, go to myaccount.google.com/privacycheckup.
- Next, scroll down to “Location History” and choose “Manage Location History.”
- Tap “Manage Location History” at the bottom of the screen again.
- Toggle the button to turn off Location History.
And here is how to delete your already stored location history:
- Tap the settings button on the “Location History” map.
- Select “Delete all location history.”
Despite going through this entire process, you would still not be absolutely free from Google’s tracking until you also turn off “Web & App Activity” tracker. According to Google, your location is tracked from your web and app activity because it offers “better recommendations, and more personalized experiences in Maps, Search, and other Google services.”
Here is how to turn off web and app activity:
Go to myaccount.google.com/activitycontrols
Turn off the “Web & Activity” toggle.