ARRA News Service
News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. Content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this site - no paid ads - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
Contact: (Pub. Since July, 2006)
    Home Page

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Google Exec Admits to Congress That They're Tracking Us Even with 'Location' Turned Off

Google Executive Will DeVries
by Paula Bolyard: A Google executive admitted during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday that Google tracks users' phones — even when their location history is turned off.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) questioned Google Senior Privacy Counsel Will DeVries about the company's tracking policies during a hearing examining online consumer privacy. Some of DeVries' answers will likely disturb consumers who thought there was a way to avoid being tracked by Google through their phones.

In his prepared remarks, DeVries told lawmakers that "the processing of personal information is necessary to simply operate the service the user requested." He asserted that "requiring" individuals to control every aspect of data processing "can create a burdensome and complex experience that diverts attention from the most important controls without corresponding benefits," and therefore a "specific consent or toggle" should not be required for every use of data.

"I'm concerned about the implicit bargain that consumers are being asked to ratify by which they supposedly get free services but actually have enormous amounts of personal data extracted from them without knowing exactly what's going on," Hawley said. He asked DeVries about his claims in his prepared remarks that Google provides "free" services and that the company "clearly explains" how personal data is used. "Is that really true?"

DeVries explained that it's "complicated" -- a word that he used several times as he tried to evade Hawley's questions about why Google tracks its users' locations.

An Associated Press report in August 2018 found that "many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so."

"Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects — such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina, served on Google last year to find devices near a murder scene," the AP explained.

Google, at the time, was evasive about whether or not users were being tracked when Location Services is turned off.

“There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people’s experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services,” a Google spokesperson told the AP. “We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.”

Hawley pointed out on Tuesday that a user's location is sent to Google hundreds of times a day, even when the phone is not in use. In fact, Hawley said, a user's location is tracked "every four minutes, or 14 times an hour, roughly 340 times during a 24-hour period," even when the phone is not in use.

DeVries confessed that "location information is absolutely core to making a mobile phone work the way that you want it to work." He said that Google has an "optional service" called Location History that is opt-in and "can collect location over time when people turn that on."

"But Google collects geolocation data even if Location History is turned off, correct?" Hawley pressed.

"Yes, senator, it can in order to operate other services—"

Hawley interrupted: "Let's just get that on the record. Google collects geolocation history and information even if Location History is turned off." He asked DeVries if he thought the average teenager was aware that Google tracks his location by scanning area Wi-Fi networks.

DeVries defended the practice, saying the data is used to provide "value" to the user, citing the need for Google Maps to determine where a user is.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) then jumped into the fray. "The phone is off," off he reminded DeVries.

The Google exec explained that the location data is necessary to perform a phone's "basic functions."

"So the consumer cannot meaningfully opt out," Hawley shot back, reiterating the fact that the phone is still communicating and sending information to Google even when the phone is not in use and Location Services are turned off. "And you're monetizing it and using it to direct ads at him, correct?"

DeVries denied that Google is using geolocation data to direct ads at users, repeating his assertion that the information retrieved provides "value" back to the consumer.

"It's not of monetary value to you?" an incredulous Hawley asked.

"There is some ways that location can be used for ads, so, for instance, your IP addresss—"

Hawley again interrupted: "I thought you just said it wasn't used for ads."

"I understand that it's complicated," DeVries said.

Hawley said that it's not all that complicated. "I think when somebody turns off their user information, their location history, they expect the location tracking to be off. But it's not, in fact. They don't have a way, apparently, to turn it off."

"Senator, you can turn off location tracking. There are aspects of location that are necessary to make services work, where if we turn those off your phone wouldnt work the way you expect," DeVries said, reiterating that it was "complicated."

"It's not complicated," Hawley insisted. "What's complicated is that you don't allow consumers to stop your tracking of them. You tell them that you do. You would anticipate that they do — that the consumer would have a reasonable expectation based on what you've told them, that they're not being tracked — but in fact, you're still tracking them. You're still gathering the information and you're still using it."

"By the way, this is just the phone. We're not even talking yet about [Google] Search or internet tracking," Hawley said.

He continued: "Americans have not signed up for this. They think that the products you're offering them are free. They're not free. They think they can opt out of the tracking that you're performing. They can't meaningfully opt out." Hawley said it's like the Eagles song "Hotel California": "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."

It may very well be true that Google has designed its Android phones and various services in a way that requires them to track people constantly, but as Hawley rightly pointed out, most users are not aware of that fact and don't understand that when they check consent boxes they're agreeing to be tracked any time they're carrying a smartphone.

"That's kind of what it's like dealing with your company — and that's a problem for the American consumer... the idea that your company and others like it are sweeping up information to build a user profile on them that will track every step, every movement, and monetize that and they can't do anything about it and I can't do anything about it, that's a big problem that this Congress needs to address."

Hawley sent a scathing letter to FTC Chairman Michael Simons on Monday saying that the tech companies — and the FTC — have failed consumers.

"For too long our nation has put off accounting for the price we paid in return for the benefits of the online platforms that now dominate American culture and industry," he wrote, adding that "Any robust definition of consumer welfare must acknowledge that these companies have harmed consumers by conditioning participation in the modern public square on giving away enormous — and growing — amounts of personal information by leveraging scale to cripple emerging competitors in their infancy." The FTC's approach, he said, has been "toothless."

On Tuesday, Hawley and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation aimed at reining in tech companies that are tracking children online. The bill would update the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) to prohibit companies from tracking the location of children under the age of 13 without parental consent and require that consent be obtained from users ages 13 to 15.

“Big tech companies know too much about our kids, and even as parents, we know too little about what they are doing with our kids’ personal data. It’s time to hold them accountable,” Hawley said in a press release. “Congress needs to get serious about keeping our children’s information safe, and it begins with safeguarding their digital footprint online.”

“The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act remains the constitution for kids’ privacy online, but today we introduce an accompanying bill of rights,” said Markey, original House author of COPPA. “In 2019, children and adolescents’ every move is monitored online, and even the youngest are bombarded with advertising when they go online to do their homework, talk to friends, and play games. In the 21st century, we need to pass bipartisan and bicameral COPPA 2.0 legislation that puts children’s well-being at the top of Congress’s priority list. If we can agree on anything, it should be that children deserve strong and effective protections online.”

The legislation would protect children and minor by:
  • Prohibiting internet companies from collecting personal and location information from anyone under 13 without parental consent and from anyone 13 to 15 years old without the user’s consent;
  • Banning targeted advertising directed at children;
  • Establishing a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Teens” that limits the collection of personal information of teens;
  • Revising COPPA’s “Actual knowledge” standard to a “constructive knowledge” standard for the definition of covered operators;
  • Creating an “Eraser Button” for parents and children by requiring companies to permit users to eliminate publicly available personal information content when technologically feasible.
  • Establishing a Youth Marketing and Privacy Division at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC);
  • Requiring online companies to explain the types of personal information collected, how that information is used and disclosed, and the policies for collection of personal information; and
  • Prohibiting the sale of internet connected devices to children and minors unless they meet robust cyber security standards;
  • Requiring manufacturers of connected devices to children and minors to prominently display on their packaging a privacy dashboard detailing how sensitive information is collected, transmitted, retained, used, and protected.
PJM's Phil Baker explained in December 2018 how to turn off as many tracking features as possible on your phone, but ultimately, users need to understand that Google has the ability to track you anytime you're carrying your phone. As Congress and Big Tech continue to duke it out over privacy issues — which may ultimately lead to new laws designed to protect consumers' private data — it's imperative to understand that your smartphone is a sophisticated geotracking advice. For now, that is the price you pay for the "free" services Google provides.
Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard) is the supervising editor at PJ Media. In addition, her work has been published in several other publications.

Tags: Paula Boyyard, PJ Media, Google Executive, Will DeVries, Admits to Congress, That They're Tracking Us, Even with 'Location' Turned Off To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 9:20 AM - Post Link


Post a Comment

<< Home

View U.S. National Debt

Don't miss anything!
Subscribe to the
ARRA News Service
It's FREE & No Ads!

You will receive a verification email
& must validate you subscribed!

You Then Receive One Email Each AM
With Prior Days Articles / Toons / More

Also, Join us at:

Recent Posts:
Personal Tweets by the editor:
Dr. Bill - OzarkGuru - @arra
#Christian Conservative; Retired USAF & Grad Professor. Constitution NRA ProLife schoolchoice fairtax - Editor ARRA NEWS SERVICE. THANKS FOR FOLLOWING!

Action Links!
State Upper & Lower House Members
State Attorney Generals
State Governors
The White House
US House of Representatives
US Senators

Facebook Accts - Dr. Bill Smith
ARRA News Service
Arkansans Against Big Government
Alley-White Am. Legion #52
Catholics & Protestants United Against Discrimination
End Taxpayer Funding of NPR
Overturn Roe V. Wade
Prolife Soldiers
Project Wildfire 4 Life
Republican Liberty Caucus of Arkansas
The Gold Standard
US Atty Gen Loretta Lynch, aka Eric Holder, Must Go
Veterans for Sarah Palin
Why Vote for Hillary (Satire)
FB Groups:
Arkansas For Sarah Palin
Arkansas Conservative Caucus
Arkansas County Tea Party
Arkansans' Discussion Group on National Issues
Blogs for Borders
Conservative Solutions
Conservative Voices
Defend Marriage -- Arkansas
FairTax Nation
Arkansas for FairTax
Friends of the TEA Party in Arkansas
Freedom Roundtable
Pro-Life Rocks - Arkansas
Republican Network
Republican Liberty Caucus of AR
Reject the U.N.


Request Via
Article Comment

Links to ARRA News
A Patriotic Nurse
Agora Associates
a12iggymom's Blog
America, You Asked For It!
Americans for a Free Republic
America's Best Choice
ARRA News Twitter
As The Crackerhead Crumbles
Blogs For Borders
Blogs for Palin
Blow the Trumpet Ministry
Boot Berryism
Cap'n Bob & the Damsel
Chicago Ray Report
Chuck Baldwin - links
Common Cents
Conservative Voices
Defeat Obama's Agenda
Diana's Corner
Greater Fitchburg For Life
Lasting Liberty Blog
Liberal Isn't Amy
Maggie's Notebook
Marathon Pundit
Patriot's Corner
Right on Issues that Matter
Right Reason
Rocking on the Right Side
Saber Point
Saline Watchdog
Secure Arkansas
Sultan Knish
The Blue Eye View
The Born Again Americans
TEA Party Cartoons
The Foxhole | Unapologetic Patriot
The Liberty Republican
The Lid
The Maritime Sentry
The O Word
The Path to Tyranny Blog
The Real Polichick
The War on Guns
Twitter @ARRA
Underground Notes
Warning Signs
Women's Prayer & Action

Editor's Managed Twitter Accounts
Twitter Dr. Bill Smith @arra
Twitter Arkansas @GOPNetwork
Twitter @BootBerryism
Twitter @SovereignAllies
Twitter @FairTaxNation

Editor's Recommended Orgs
Accuracy in Media (AIM)
American Action Forum (AAF)
American Committment
American Culture & Faith Institute
American Enterprise Institute
American Family Business Institute
Americans for Limited Government
Americans for Prosperity
Americans for Tax Reform
American Security Council Fdn
AR Faith & Ethics Council
Arkansas Policy Foundation
Ayn Rand Institute
Bill of Rights Institute
Campaign for Working Families
CATO Institute
Center for Individual Freedom
Center for Immigration Studies
Center for Just Society
Center for Freedom & Prosperity
Citizens Against Gov't Waste
Citizens in Charge Foundstion
Coalition for the Future American Worker
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Concerned Veterans for America
Concerned Women for America
Declaration of Am. Renewal
Eagle Forum
Family Research Council
Family Security Matters
Franklin Center for Gov't & Public Integrity
Freedom Works
Gingrich Productions
Global Incident Map
Great Americans
Gold Standard 2012 Project
Gun Owners of America (GOA)
Heritage Action for America
David Horowitz Freedom Center
Institute For Justice
Institute for Truth in Accounting
Intercollegiate Studies Institute
Judicial Watch
Less Government
Media Reseach Center
National Center for Policy Analysis
National Right To Work Foundation
National Rifle Association (NRA)
National Rifle Association (NRA-ILA)
News Busters
O'Bluejacket's Patriotic Flicks
Open Secrets
Presidential Prayer Team
Religious Freedom Coalition
Renew America
Ron Paul Institute
State Policy Network
Tax Foundation
Tax Policy Center
The Club for Growth
The Federalist
The Gold Standard Now
The Heritage Foundation
The Leadership Institute
Truth in Accounting
Union Facts

Blogs For Borders

Reject the United Nations

Adopt Our Troops in Prayer

Thousands of Deadly Islamic Terror Attacks Since 9/11

FairTax Nation on FaceBook
Friends of Israel - Stand with Israel
Blog Feeds
Syndicated - Get the ARRA News Service feed Syndicated!
ARRA Blog Feed

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Add to The Free Dictionary

Powered by Blogger

  • To Exchange Links - Email:!
  • Comments by contributing authors or other sources do not necessarily reflect the position the editor, other contributing authors, sources, readers, or commenters. No contributors, or editors are paid for articles, images, cartoons, etc. While having reported on and promoting beliefs associated with the former Arkansas Republican Assemblies (ARRA), this blog/site is controlled and supported by the editor. This site/blog does not advertise for money or services nor does it solicit funding for its support.
  • Fair Use: This site/blog may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material as provided for in section Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Per said section, the material on this site/blog is distributed without profit to readers to view for the expressed purpose of viewing the included information for research, educational, or satirical purposes. Any person/entity seeking to use copyrighted material shared on this site/blog for purposes that go beyond "fair use," must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
  • © 2006 - 2018 ARRA News Service
Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.