Google’s privacy options have always been notorious for being unnecessarily complex – so much so that even its own employees find it confusing and misleading.
New unheard documents (via the Arizona Mirror) from Google’s consumer fraud lawsuit in Arizona show several internal emails where some of the company’s employees admit that their location controls can use better messaging and a little simplification.
One employee wrote, “The current UI feels like it’s designed to make things possible, yet difficult that people won’t understand it.”
Back in May, the Arizona Attorney General, Mark Brnovich, filed a lawsuit against Google for illegal data-collection activities based on the Consumer Fraud Act. The lawsuit stemmed from a 2018 Associated Press report highlighting how Google continues to track users when they explicitly switch location settings on Android.
Another employee, whose credentials were redrawn, said he agreed with the Associated Press article. “Location closed means the location must be closed; Not except in this case or that matter. “
In a statement to the Arizona Mirror, Google spokesman, Jose Castaneda, said that even these “cherry-published extracts” explicitly stated that “the team’s goal is to ‘reduce confusion around location history settings’ Was. ” “Privacy controls have long been built into our services and our team works continuously to discuss and improve them. In terms of location information, we have heard feedback, and worked hard to improve our privacy controls, ”he said.
The documents further detail how Google employees were caught off guard in the report as well, and many flaws enabled search engine giants to collect data on users who opted in.
“Definitely from the confusing user’s point of view if we need googlers then let us explain it,” read another email.
Google’s ecosystem of services, which can share data between each other, you have many different ways to gather data and they are not always associated with the same settings. So, in some instances, even if it seems obvious that you are turning off data collection, there is a possibility that a separate Google module is still actively tracking you.
The Associated Press study was about where to toggle your phone. Naturally, you would think that disabling would completely stop location tracking. Instead, when you turn it off, third-party applications cannot directly find you and personalize their services. But Google and advertisers were still able to track your whereabouts. Since then, Google has made several improvements to control its suite of privacy including a self-destructive toggle and a simplified dashboard to let Google manage all your activities.
Brnovich has requested a jury trial against Google, but the court has not yet given a ruling. Google is currently facing several antitrust investigations and trials including one from the Justice Department and a group of state lawyers in general on the company’s advertising business.