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EU Google Privacy

Google Map App's Version of Anonymity Might Violate EU Privacy Laws 89

Posted by timothy
from the of-course-we-don't-know-your-name-#449709761 dept.
Ars Technica reports that Google's map application for iOS, however popular it might be with users, raises red flags with European regulators, who maintain that it by default does not sufficiently safeguard user privacy as required by EU privacy rules. Ars quotes Marit Hansen of Germany's Independent Centre for Privacy Protection on why: "Hansen's main gripe is that Google's use of 'anonymous' is misleading. 'All available information points to having linkable identifiers per user," she told Computerworld. Hansen added this would allow Google to track several location entries, thus leading to her assumption that Google's 'anonymous location data' would be considered 'personal data' under the European law."
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Google Map App's Version of Anonymity Might Violate EU Privacy Laws

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    LOL. Seriously?

  • They call themselves Independent Centre for Privacy Protection, so they hardly have an unbiased opinion here.
  • by MLCT (1148749) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @03:19PM (#42308373)
    I have to say I was surprised at how insistent the new iOS application is at trying to determine your location. Every time you go into it it asks for location services to be turned on. You can skip by it, but that would be the type of setting that with other programs would be a choice only made once, not pestering every time.

    It is very clear that google are obsessed about knowing locations to enable them to tie and link you to services and advertising. AFAICT though the circle can only be completed if you are logged into google services on iOS â" then they can tie the ID to an account â" otherwise they will have to fall back to IP addresses which I am guessing they wouldn't do too routinely as it is not going to be all that reliable (shared addresses etc.).
    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @03:45PM (#42308511)

      I have to say I was surprised at how insistent the new iOS application is at trying to determine your location. Every time you go into it it asks for location services to be turned on. You can skip by it, but that would be the type of setting that with other programs would be a choice only made once, not pestering every time.

      It's also interesting how, when you click on a link in the newest versions of Google's iOS apps, they don't send you to Safari - they open up their own browsing window.

    • by dwillden (521345)
      It's a mapping application, why would it not request you turn on the location services every time you use it. It's greatest functionality is only available when location services are on. Waze does the same thing in both IOS and Android, if you enter the app it requests access to Location services, because that information is key to it's primary use.

      Yes you could be pulling it up just to look for a location, but most users these days are pulling these apps up for navigation purposes.
      • It's a mapping application, why would it not request you turn on the location services every time you use it.

        It should obviously ask at first. But if you said no, the app is notified, and to ask again every time when the user said no is pretty rude.

        It's greatest functionality is only available when location services are on.

        Knowing where YOU are on a map is for most people a secondary service. Primarily map applications are used to find where something else is on a map, then people can just follow roads to

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          It should obviously ask at first. But if you said no, the app is notified, and to ask again every time when the user said no is pretty rude.

          Errm no. When you have an application where many fundamental features require location services to be turned on I fully expect it to ask you every time. It's good when it does it too. My girlfriend has location services turned off. Apps inability to randomly turn on GPS (and her not needing to remember to exit said app) is a real saver of battery life. Some of us are actually quite happy for apps to tell us when they may not work as we expect, even if we in the past have clicked no.

          Also knowing where YOU ar

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