There has been a lot of news lately about Android devices logging, and reporting GPS information back to Google. Not to mention the same thing going on with the iPhone. Two women from Michigan have even filed a Class Action suite against Google. I think this is ridiculous! Of course they are reporting your location back to Google/Apple. How do you think they can give you maps with your current location? Or even Turn-By-Turn directions… How about when you “check in” on Facebook, how do you think they know your location? You give it to them with the GPS coordinates.
Ok, you may argue that “you are giving them permission” when you get directions, or check in to Facebook, but you already gave Google permission also when you set up your phone and the little checkbox that said “provide Google with location data” was checked, or when you downloaded an application and it said one of the “permissions” that is uses is “GPS Location”.
Let me talk about this GPS data that everyone is talking about. Google, and Apple for that matter, couldn’t care less about where you are. What they actually care about is that you will continue to use their products, so they use your data to make the experience better, for you. That location data that you are so worried about is telling Google where WiFi access points are and cell towers are in regards to your location. This information is used so when you fire up Google Maps, or Google Navigation, they can quickly pinpoint your location, even if you don’t yet have a GPS lock. If they did not have this data, the time it would take for you to get your location and the information you want to know, like where you are going, would take way longer.
If you don’t want your device to report GPS info, there is a quick and easy “opt out”, don’t turn on your GPS, and also turn off “use wifi to find your location”. Also, when you set up your device, uncheck the option to send the data to Google. If you want someone to “worry” about, worry about companies like AT&T and Verizon, for example, that know, basically, where you are at all times of the day, even if you turn off your GPS. They know exactly what cell towers you are in range of at any given time of day. Where is the case against them asking how they use this data and if they store it.
I like the benefits that I get out of having the data sent. I use Google Maps, and Navigation all the time, if you don’t use it, or don’t want your data “sent” then don’t send it, but don’t screw things up for the people that do use it, and don’t think it’s 1984.