Google’s approach to Android privacy is coming under fire following revelations from Arizona’s antitrust lawsuit over phone tracking. As Insider reports, freshly unredacted documents in the case suggest Google made Android privacy settings harder to find. When Google tested OS releases that surfaced privacy features, the company reportedly saw greater use of those features as a “problem” and aimed to put them deeper into the menu system.
The tech giant also “successfully pressured” phone brands like LG to bury location settings as they were popular, according to Arizona’s attorneys. Google personnel further acknowledged that it was difficult to stop the company from determining your home and work locations, and complained that there was “no way” to give third-party apps your location without also handing them to Google.
We’ve asked Google for comment. In the past, it said that Arizona’s attorneys had “mischaracterized” its services and offered “robust” location privacy controls.
Google has been improving privacy as of late. Android 12 will have an “approximate” location option in addition to a Privacy Dashboard and other controls. If the allegations hold up, though, the firm may have a difficult court battle ahead — they suggest Google was determined to collect data despite Android users’ preferences.