Consumer groups urge FTC to investigate Google over location tracking
A coalition of more than 75 consumer groups is urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate Google for allegedly “manipulating” Android users into having their location tracked at all times.
The Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) in a letter Tuesday argued that Google “nudges” mobile phone users with Android operating systems to turn on their location services.
“Location data and history can reveal in detail an individual’s lifestyle, daily routines and interests,” the groups wrote. “Over time, the data can be used to infer highly sensitive information such as religious beliefs, political views and sexual orientation.”
The groups, which represent European and U.S. consumers, listed five ways they say Google “manipulates and nudges” users into turning on their location services.
They said Google does not properly disclose when location settings are enabled by default under “Web & App activity settings.” Google is also criticized for repeatedly pushing its users to turn on their location under “Location History” settings.
A spokeswoman for the FTC confirmed that the agency has received the letter but declined to comment on the matter.
Tuesday’s letter cited a new report from the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) that details the ways Google “continuously” tracks the location of its users.