Google bans location data collecting app and forbids all apps from using its code

Google bans location data collecting app and warns all apps using its code to remove it if they want
There's been ongoing public interest in privacy on mobile devices for the last couple of years, and big tech companies seem to start addressing some issues. Now, CNET reports Google has taken legal action against some companies that were selling location data on Android.

Google has sent a 7-day warning to all apps using code from a company called SafeGraph

SafeGraph is a company that has allegedly sold data sets to developers that had to embed its code in their apps. Apparently, it seems this company has sold location data of Android users. Google has informed app developers to remove the SafeGraph code from their apps. If they fail to do so within the 7-day period since Google has informed them, they would face enforcement on the Google Play Store (basically, removal from the Play Store).

Motherboard has concluded one such app was made by the US Centers for Disease Control, which gathered data in response to the pandemic.

What SafeGraph allegedly did was sell its software development kit to app developers. This SDK would then track the physical location of users, which SafeGraph would repackage and then sell to other parties.

The news comes as big tech companies are facing more critisism and scrutiny from lawmakers over access to user data. And not only that: Google has also received negative attention to how it treats location data on its own apps, not only third-party ones.

For example, in 2018 Google was found to track your location on Android even when you turn off Location History. This finding resulted in a lawsuit for consumer fraud by Arizona Attoreny General mark Brnovich. The lawsuit alleges that Google illegally tracked Android users' location without their consent, even if users had disabled location trackign features.

According to the lawsuit, Google kept location tracking running in the background and only stopped it when users disabled system-level tracking.

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