The unedited class-action lawsuit filed in Arizona against Google is evidence of deliberately making it difficult for users to access privacy settings on Android smartphones.
The company’s executives and engineers knew that Google made it harder for smartphone users to keep location information private. This was reported by Business Insider.
The lawsuit notes that Google collected location information even after users turned off sharing of this data, and also made it difficult for users to find privacy settings. The documents also show that Google put pressure on smartphone manufacturers like LG to hide their privacy settings.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit against Google last May, alleging that the company was illegally tracking the location of Android users without their consent, even if users turned off location tracking features. The lawsuit noted that Google kept location tracking in the background for some features and only stopped the practice when users turned off tracking at the system level.
Jack Menzel, the former vice president in charge of Google Maps (Google Maps), admitted during his testimony that the only way to prevent Google from locating a user’s home and work is to deliberately “knock Google off the scent” by setting home and work addresses in the form of random locations.
Google spokesman José Castañeda commented on the situation to TheVerge as follows:
Brnovich and our competitors involved in this lawsuit have tried their best to mis-characterize our services. We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust location management tools. We look forward to the opportunity to clarify this issue. “