Google: The High School Science Club Management Method Cracks Location Privacy

June 2, 2021

How does one keep one’s location private? Good question. “Apple Is Eating Our Lunch: Google Employees Admit in Lawsuit That the Company Made It Nearly Impossible for Users to Keep Their Location Private” explains:

Google continued collecting location data even when users turned off various location-sharing settings, made popular privacy settings harder to find, and even pressured LG and other phone makers into hiding settings precisely because users liked them, according to the documents.

The fix. Enter random locations in order to baffle the high school science club whiz kids. The write up explains:

The unsealed versions of the documents paint an even more detailed picture of how Google obscured its data collection techniques, confusing not just its users but also its own employees. Google uses a variety of avenues to collect user location data, according to the documents, including WiFi and even third-party apps not affiliated with Google, forcing users to share their data in order to use those apps or, in some cases, even connect their phones to WiFi.

Interesting. The question is, “Why?”

My hunch is that geolocation is a darned useful item of data. Do a bit of sleuthing and check out the importance of geolocation and cross correlation on policeware and intelware solutions. Marketing finds the information useful as well. Does Google have a master plan? Sure, make money. The high school science club wants to keep the data flowing for three reasons:

First, ever increasing revenues are important. Without cash flow, Google’s tough-to-control costs could bring down the company. Geolocation data are valuable and provide a kitting needle to weave other items of information into a detailed just-for-you quilt.

Second, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook pose significant threats to the Google. Amazon is, well, doing its Bezos bulldozer thing. Apple is pushing its quasi privacy campaign to give “users” control. And Facebook is unpredictable and trying to out Google Google in advertising and user engagement. These outfits may be monopolies, but monopolies have to compete so high value data become the weaponized drones of these business wars.

Third, Google’s current high school management approach is mostly unaware of how the company gathers data. The systems and methods were institutionalized years ago. What persists are the modules of code which just sort of mostly do their thing. Newbies use the components and the data collection just functions. Why fix it if it isn’t broken. That assumes that someone knows how to fiddle with legacy Google.

Net net: Confusion. What high school science club admits to not having the answers? I can’t name one, including my high school science club in 1958. Some informed methods are wonderful and lesser being should not meddle. I read the article and think, “If you don’t get it, get out.”

Stephen E Arnold, June 1, 2021

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