How much does Google steal?
Google may collect significantly more personal information about its users than you know. The corporation tracks every search you conduct and every YouTube video you watch. Whether you have an iPhone ($499 at Apple) or an Android, Google Maps records where you go, how you got there, and how long you stay – even if you never use the app. When you take a deeper look at what Google knows about you, the findings might be startling, if not downright alarming. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it.
Beginning in June, new Google accounts will automatically remove your private data. However, this is only after 18 months by default. And only if you’re a first-time Google user. That’s fantastic if you’re just getting started with Gmail or your first Android phone. Still, suppose you’re one of the 1.5 billion users on Gmail or the 2.5 billion people using Android. In that case, your account is configured to keep your private data forever until you tell Google differently.
LONDON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – The United Kingdom Supreme Court has halted a planned 3.2 billion pound ($4.3 billion) British class action against Google on charges that the internet giant illegally tracked the personal information of millions of iPhone users.
On Wednesday, Britain’s highest justices unanimously allowed Google’s appeal against the country’s first such data privacy lawsuit, upsetting a slew of similar cases against giants like Facebook and TikTok.
The groundbreaking lawsuit, sponsored by consumer rights campaigner and former director Which? magazine director Richard Lloyd, sought to broaden Britain’s class action process to encompass compensation claims for claimed data abuse – even if there is no evident financial loss or hardship.
Lloyd claimed, supported by a commercial lawsuit funder, that Google covertly collected more than 5 million Apple iPhone users’ data between 2011 and 2012 by circumventing default privacy settings on Safari browsers to trace internet browsing history and utilized this for commercial reasons.
“We are bitterly disappointed that the Supreme Court has failed to do enough to protect the public from Google and other Big Tech firms who break the law,” he said.
His lawyer, James Oldnall from law firm Milberg, called it a “dark day when corporate greed is valued over our right to privacy.”
Google responds to the allegation
Google stated that it had spent years focusing on products and infrastructure that respect and preserve people’s privacy. The assertion was based on events that occurred a decade ago and were handled at the time.
The verdict was likewise well received by British business. According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), permitting such a lawsuit may have stifled investment and harmed companies throughout the economy.
“The Supreme Court has recognized that the ‘loss of control’ of an individual’s data is not, in and of itself, sufficient to found a collective action for compensation,” said Kate Scott, a partner at law firm Clifford Chance.
“Data litigation will undoubtedly continue, but with a focus on claims where actual damage has been suffered – which is the right outcome for all businesses, and not just big Tech like Google.”
A single person represents a group of persons impacted by the same issue in a representative or class action. They are automatically included in a lawsuit without individually signing up unless they are opt-out.
Proponents of such cases argue that they provide access to justice for people with minor individual claims or who lack the financial wherewithal to take on frequently enormous powerful corporations.
Critics argue that such cases foster frivolous claims fueled by opportunistic commercial litigation funders and legal firms.
How to stop Google from Invading?
Coming up with a solution for “Google spying on you” is still an ongoing research process. However, there are a few steps you can perform to prevent Google from tracking you.
- Click on Security and location under the main settings icon.
- Scroll down to the Privacy heading and tap Location.
- You can toggle it off for the whole device.
- Turn off access to various apps using App-level permissions. Unlike the iPhone, there is no setting for While Using. If that service is left on, it is not possible to turn off Google Play services, which supplies your location to several other apps.
- Sign in as a guest on your Android device.
- Be alert of which services you sign in on, like Chrome. It is also possible to change search engines, even in Chrome.
- If you’re using Google Maps, modify your location setting to While Using the App. This will help prevent the app from accessing your location when it is not active.
- Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and then select Google Maps to make the change.
For any device:
- Go to myactivity.google.com.
- Go to Activity Controls on the upper left drop-down menu.
- Both Location History and Web & App Activity should be turned off. This should prevent accurate location markers from being stored in your Google account.
- You will get a warning from Google that some of its services will not work with these settings turned off.
- Neither a digital concierge, the Google Home smart speaker, nor the Google Assistant will be particularly useful.