Google sued over Android location tracking

Two HTC Inspire 4G users are suing Google over Android’s location-tracking technology. The two Michigan women claim that Google collects location information “covertly, surreptitiously and in violations of law.”

The claim filed states, “Google’s Terms of Service do not disclose its comprehensive tracking of users nor its use of a unique device ID attached to each specific phone. Google only discloses that it is seeking permission to obtain location information from its Android Operating System cell phone users. [Brown, Molaski], and other users did not provide any sort of informed consent to the extensive tracking at issue in this case.”

The two Android users are seeking $50 million in damages as well as a court order to stop Google from tracking other users’ devices.

A spokesperson for Google told All Things D, “All location sharing on Android is opt-in by the user. We provide users with notice and control over the collection, sharing and use of location in order to provide a better mobile experience on Android devices. Any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user.”

The issue of cell phone tracking has gained traction lately, as just last month two researchers claimed the iPhone was storing location data in an unencrypted format.

Although both Google and Apple assert location services are simply an option, not everyone is convinced.

“These aren’t smartphones; they are spy phones,” said John M. Simpson, director of the nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group’s Privacy Project.

“Consumers must have the right to control whether their data is gathered and how it is used.”

(Via PC Mag)