“The in-depth investigation by the Times revealed many details about how Google uses its in-house database — called Sensorvault — to cooperate with law enforcement,” Hamilton reports. “Using the database, Google is able to provide police with the data of phones from a specific time and location. By submitting ‘geofence’ warrants, police are able to look at which phones were in close proximity to a crime. According to a Google employee, the firm once received as many as 180 of such requests in one week.”
“The data attached to each phone is initially anonymous, then once police have whittled down the number of suspect devices, Google provides them with the names of the people each device is associated with,” Hamilton reports. “An intelligence analyst, who has himself examined the data from hundreds of phones, told the Times that it wasn’t just Android users who had their information examined by law enforcement. He said ‘most Android devices’ and ‘some iPhones”‘ had their data made available by Google… It is not clear from the Times’ piece exactly how Google was able to provide law enforcement with the data of iPhone users, although it seems possible that it was able to do so through installed Google services, such as Google Maps.”
Read more in the full article here.
“Investigators who spoke with The New York Times said they had not sent geofence warrants to companies other than Google, and Apple said it did not have the ability to perform those searches,” Jennifer Valentino-Devries reports for The New York Times. “Detectives noted how precise the data was and how it was collected even when people weren’t making calls or using apps — both improvements over tracking that relies on cell towers. ‘It shows the whole pattern of life,’ said Mark Bruley, the deputy police chief in Brooklyn Park, Minn., where investigators have been using the technique since this fall.”
“Location data is a lucrative business — and Google is by far the biggest player, propelled largely by its Android phones. It uses the data to power advertising tailored to a person’s location, part of a more than $20 billion market for location-based ads last year,” Valentino-Devries reports. “In 2009, the company introduced Location History, a feature for users who wanted to see where they had been. Sensorvault stores information on anyone who has opted in, allowing regular collection of data from GPS signals, cellphone towers, nearby Wi-Fi devices and Bluetooth beacons. People who turn on the feature can see a timeline of their activity and get recommendations based on it. Google apps prompt users to enable Location History for things like traffic alerts. Information in the database is held indefinitely, unless the user deletes it.”
“The Fourth Amendment says a warrant must request a limited search and establish probable cause that evidence related to a crime will be found,” Valentino-Devries reports. “Warrants reviewed by The Times frequently established probable cause by explaining that most Americans owned cellphones and that Google held location data on many of these phones. The areas they targeted ranged from single buildings to multiple blocks, and most sought data over a few hours.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, do not install Google apps or use Google services on your iOS devices if you value your privacy and, if you’re a U.S. citizen especially, your constitutional rights.
If Google cannot track users, their business model is not viable. — MacDailyNews, February 14, 2019
With Google, you are the product. Even if their products start out benignly, they will not stay that way because Google’s ultimate goal is to vacuum up everything, to know everything it possibly can, in order to target ads precisely to you for which they can charge more (highly targeted ads work better and are therefore more valuable).
So, when an Alphabet Inc. “product” (personal data siphon) like Google Photos comes out, for just one of many examples, our immediate advice is always to ignore the pretty bells and whistles for this will go badly for your privacy sooner or later. Most likely, sooner.
This is why people are stupid (or ignorant) to shackle their children to Google products via public school systems. Gmail addresses are required, of course, and it just gets worse from there. Even if Google swears to do nothing with the data while the student in in school, these kids will eventually exit school systems with Gmail addresses, Google Docs, Google Drives, Google Photos, etc. – it’s an indoctrination program that people pay for via their school taxes.
People are equally as stupid (or ignorant) when they screw themselves and their family members with Android phones. It’s simply idiocy (or naivety) that Google preys upon for profit.
Using an Android phone and/or Google apps (including on your Mac, iPad, or iPhone) is branding yourself a fool. — MacDailyNews, September 24, 2018
Some 17,000 Android apps track users, even when told to stop – February 14, 2019
Is Google purposefully breaking Microsoft, Apple browsers on its websites? – December 19, 2018
Google exposed user data, did not disclose to public fearing repercussions – October 10, 2018
After trying and failing to hide the issue, Alphabet pulls plug on Google+ after bug exposes data from up to 500,000 users – October 8, 2018
Why I’m done with Google’s Chrome browser – September 24, 2018
Researchers find Google harvests more data from Android – and Apple iOS – users than most people think – August 21, 2018
Google hit with lawsuit accusing them of tracking phone users regardless of privacy settings – August 20, 2018
Google tracks users movements even when explicitly told not to – Associated Press – August 13, 2018
New Android malware records ambient audio, fires off premium-rate texts, and harvests files, photos, contacts, and more – March 2, 2018
How Google is secretly recording Android settlers, monitoring millions of conversations every day and storing the creepy audio files – August 22, 2017
Android apps secretly tracking users by listening to inaudible sound hidden in ads – May 8, 2017
Edward Snowden: No matter what, do not use Google’s new Allo messenger app – September 23, 2016
Apple’s iOS 11 will deliver even more privacy to users – June 8, 2017
Google to pay $5.5 million for sneaking around Apple’s privacy settings to collect user data – August 31, 2016
Apple takes a swing at privacy-tampling, personal data-guzzling rivals like Google – September 29, 2015
Apple: Hey Siri and Live Photos data stays only on your device to ensure privacy – September 12, 2015
Apple issues iPhone manifesto; blasts Android’s lack of updates, lack of privacy, rampant malware – August 10, 2015
Edward Snowden supports Apple’s stance on customer privacy – June 17, 2015
Mossberg: Apple’s latest product is privacy – June 12, 2015
Apple looks to be building an alternative to the Google-branded, hand-over-your-privacy ‘Internet Experience’ – June 11, 2015
Understanding Apple and privacy – June 8, 2015
Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 2015
Edward Snowden’s privacy tips: ‘Get rid of Dropbox,” avoid Facebook and Google – October 13, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
Apple slams Google in Safari 7.1 release notes: ‘Adds DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t track users’ – September 18, 2014
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants – September 18, 2014
Google to pay $17 million to settle U.S. states’ Safari user tracking probe – November 20, 2013
Judge dismisses case against Google over Safari user tracking – October 11, 2013
UK Apple Safari users sue Google for secretly tracking Web browsing – January 28, 2013
Google pays $22.5 million to settle charges of bypassing Apple Safari privacy settings – August 9, 2012
US FTC votes to fine Google $22.5 million for bypassing Safari privacy settings; Settlement allows Google to admit no liability – July 31, 2012
Google’s D.C. lobbyists have outspent Apple nearly 10 to 1 so far this year – July 23, 2012
Google to pay $22.5 million to settle charges over bypassing privacy settings of millions of Apple users – July 10, 2012
Apple’s anti-user tracking policy has mobile advertisers scrambling – May 9, 2012
Google said to be negotiating amount of U.S. FTC fine over Apple Safari breach – May 4, 2012
Cookies and privacy, Google and Safari – February 25, 2012
Obama’s privacy plan puts pinch on Google – February 24, 2012
Obama administration outlines online privacy guidelines – February 23, 2012
Google sued by Apple Safari-user for bypassing browser privacy – February 21, 2012
Google’s tracking of Safari users could prompt FTC investigation – February 18, 2012
WSJ: Google tracked iPhone, iPad users, bypassing Apple’s Safari browser privacy settings; Microsoft denounces – February 17, 2012