Tech giants Facebook and Google accused of spying on users locations

Tech giants Facebook and Google accused of spying on users locations

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Lawsuits claim that tech giants kept recording location histories secretly.

Privacy has been a big deal for ages. For months now Google and Facebook have all been under scrutiny and users seem to be more aware as well as being concerned about their interests, discussions, and location not being private anymore. Of course, it’s of interest for companies like Google and Facebook to use your information to target their ads and monetize content better.

Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against Facebook

The companies have now been accused separately for secretly tracking user locations after letting them believe that they have safely disabled location tracking, yet their data is still “secretly” being collected.

A class action suit was filed in California District Court by Brett Heeger, a former Facebook app user, who sued Facebook for still mining user’s location information even after turning off location tracking.

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Lawsuits claim that tech giants kept recording location histories secretly.

The lawsuit includes that Facebook has violated the Consent Decree of 2011 with the Federal Trade Commission. The agreement was made to run for 20 years whereby the social media giant had promised not to mispresent the extent it maintains regarding the security or privacy of covered information in any manner.

It’s believed that anyone who has been tracked without knowing could join the class action suit and with millions of users eligible, it only means that if the plaintiffs get full relief, the bill could stretch even to billions.

Google in a Similar Pan

Similar to Facebook, Google as well has been accused of collecting location data continuously even when the user has opted out. The suit was filed by individuals Smedley, Leslie Lee, and Frederick Davis who point out that Google is deceptive and tries to keep the attention of the users away from the “App Activity and Web” toggle.

If a user turns off location history in Google activity page, the setting would be disabled and notifies that no benefits of location history would be enjoyed. It would mean that Google won’t record the user location. However, if a user gets into the activity controls, it will be a surprise to check the Web and App activity section.

Both tech giants have been sued for violating California laws, State’s Constitutional Right of Privacy, Consumers Legal Remedies Act as well as the Invasion of Privacy Act.

What the Lawsuits Demand

Facebook suits say it violated the federal stored communications act which demanded damages of $1,000 per violation. Subsequently, both lawsuits ask the social media giants to clearly explain what they had done with the affected users, destroy all the data they collected, and then promise not to repeat the same. Google suit wants it to give up all revenues obtained from the collected data to the users.

Image courtesy of Geralt/Pixabay


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