Google promises that if you don’t want them to track your every move, turn off the location services button on your phone. This goes for both Android and Apple phones. Turning off this feature is supposed to keep Google in the dark on where you go and what you do.
But suppose we told you it doesn’t matter if you opt out or not? Google still tracks you, and they still give your information to third parties. Sometimes those third parties are corporate entities. Sometimes they are government entities. Gross, right? Well, it gets worse.
Go ahead and try shutting your location history off. They’ll track you anyway. You might have noticed, even with tracking turned off on mobile devices, the icon will still appear for brief instances now and again.
Mark Ames of the Associated Press put it this way in a recent article, “The Pentagon invented the Internet to be the perfect global surveillance/ counterinsurgency machine. Surveillance is baked into the Internet’s DNA.”
To put it bluntly, the Internet is designed to spy on you, and that’s exactly what it is doing no matter what you ask it to do.
With the help of tech researchers from Princeton, the AP writers discovered that even though Google tells you that apps and devices are able to track you- they say you can always turn the tracker off.
They aren’t being completely dishonest. Think of your device as being like a door to your home. The door allows you to access information out in the world and to send information out into the world. There is also a lock on that door. According to Google, you are able to control that lock, effectively opting out of surveillance. However, there are additional secret locks built into the door which override the one you are given access to.
What’s more, government and tech companies can use these hidden locks at any time and there is no legal obligation for them to tell you about them or give you the option to lock them permanently.
The AP writes, “Google claims that ‘opting out’ will prevent them from recording your activity. The tech company’s support page states: ‘You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.’
That’s not true. Even with the Location History paused, some apps will still automatically store location data and never ask you for permission to do so.
Google stores a snapshot of your physical location when you open the Maps app. Automatic weather updates on Android phones pinpoint your location. And even some searches that have nothing to do with location can pinpoint your precise coordinates — down to the square foot — and then save it to your Google account.”
To put it simply, you can opt out as much as you like, but you can never actually get out. It’s a bit like a line from that old Eagles tune, Hotel California – “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”
The false “opt out” issue effects no fewer than 2 billion Android and iPhone users.
If you do a Google search on how to turn the tracking feature off, you’ll get the following directions;
“To stop Google from saving location markers, turn off the setting called “Web and App Activity.” When paused, this will prevent activity on your device from being saved to your account.”
What they don’t tell you is that leaving “Web & App Activity” on and turning off “Location History” only stops Google from adding your activity to Google’s visualization of your daily activity and physical location. It doesn’t prevent Google from collecting other location markers.
It’s possible to erase all of the location markers manually, but it’s a slow and painstaking process. To do it, you have to select them all individually one by one, and there’s a lot of them. A lot. The only other option is to delete all of your stored activity.
If there’s one thing all of the big tech companies have made clear over the past two decades it’s this- you do not own the devices you buy. You have no right to expect to be able to use them the way you want or to prevent them from invading your privacy and selling your private information.
This is the new digital wild west- and the major players don’t even look at you as being like the natives. They see you as something more like the buffalo.
~ American Liberty Report