Technology giant Google is facing a lawsuit following the recent revelation that they track iPhone and Android users regardless of their privacy settings.
The suit was filed on August 17 in response to an Associated Press investigation that confirmed various popular apps were tracking and storing user location, despite providing a help page that told users they wouldn’t be tracked: “[w]ith Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”
The complaint filed in San Francisco by Napoleon Patacsil claims the location tracking is a violation of user privacy with the “principal goal… [to] surreptitiously monitor” users, and is therefore a violation of California privacy laws. Patacsil is seeking damages and to create a class action suit on behalf of other mobile phone users.
Google has since modified the language on their help page to state that “some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps,” but has declined to comment on the lawsuit.
“I can’t think off the top of my head of any major online service that architected their location privacy settings in a similar way,” said Princeton computer scientist Jonathan Mayer.
Google has received widespread criticism for having questionable privacy policies in the past, including a report last year which find that it tracked Android users by their proximity to cellular phone towers regardless of their selected location settings.