Google Defends Android Phone Tracking

Apr 27, 2011, 06:16 by David Hope

Google said this week that location information tracked by Android system phones required users to "opt-in" to activate the feature.

"All location sharing on Android is opt-in by the user," The Wall Street Journal reported a company spokesman as saying.

Both Google and Apple Inc. are coming under increased pressure to explain what some consider a violation of consumer privacy, as it has become known that certain smartphones track a user's whereabouts often without the person's knowledge.

Apple remained silent on the subject this week, but the company, in a letter to Congress last year did admit the iPhone "intermittently" collected data on a user's location and sent it back to the company.

The Journal reported Saturday phones using the Android system developed by Google are not set with the tracking system turned off, but users are offered a choice to uncheck a box on a screen that explains the system will send anonymous data to the company regardless of whether or not an application is being used.

"We provide users with notice and control over the collection, sharing and use of location in order to provide a better mobile experience on Android devices," Google's spokesman said.

"Any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user."

Google has also said tracking a user's location is necessary to provide high quality service for users who download maps or require directions to various places.

Source: UPI