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Google Hit With Phone-Tracking Lawsuit

By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 22, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A new lawsuit alleges that Google follows people on their phones -- even after they have disabled location services on the devices.

It's a troubling development for the company because it already settled a related privacy complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The lawsuit alleges more violations of California's privacy laws.

What's worse, Google said previously that disabling "location history" would solve the tracking problem. Apparently, the company didn't know how to stop it either.

Turned Off

The Associated Press broke the story, reporting that Google applications were still collecting users' data after they turned off location tracking. The news agency pointed out the company's claim to the contrary.

"You can turn off Location History at any time," Google's website said. "With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored."

After the story came out, Google changed its statement. "Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps," Ars Technica reported.

In Patacsil v. Google, the plaintiff says Google violated California's Invasion of Privacy Act and the state's constitutional right to privacy. The proposed class-action seeks to represent Android and iPhone users.

Still Tracking

Google is not the only company following users. According to reports, there is almost no way to completely hide an electronic footprint.

Internet-connected devices have unique IP addresses, and cell phone carriers follow phone signals. Even unplugging from the world won't escape global positioning satellites.

However, users can disable all Google-tracking with some effort and without tossing their cell phones. Either that, or join a class-action lawsuit.

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