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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 AmiMoJo (196126) * <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Sunday December 16, 2012 @01:25PM (#42307843) Homepage

    *sigh* Does anyone even read the fucking summary any more?

    The problem is that when you ask to "anonymous", your data is not actually anonymized. They can send directions for getting from A to B and then discard all personally identifying information, which is what a normal person would expect if they selected "anonymous".

  • by dissy (172727) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @01:26PM (#42307845)

    On Android, I can turn off all the "location" services anytime I'm not using GPS. Saves the battery from being eaten by GPS. Does iPhone give this option?

    iPhone doesn't work quite like that. The GPS radio is never left on all the time.

    There is an option to never allow it to come on of course, but even with that switched on, the GPS only gets activated when an app needs to use it and you allowed that app to.

    It also shows a GPS icon in the title bar whenever an app is actively using it.

    When an app first runs, the OS asks you if you want to allow location services for this app. If you click no the API won't return that data.
    If you click yes, it adds it to the list of allowed GPS apps.
    You can pull this list up under Settings at any time to remove an app after you have already allowed it.

    Basically battery life only takes a hit when you see that icon, and that icon only shows up while in an app you allowed to use it. Once you flip back to springboard (aka the launcher) or into another app, it gets shut off again.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @02:53PM (#42308257)

    SImple. You don't have a persistent ID associated with all requests from the app. The problem is not that a location is sent to the server as part of a request. It's that it's associated with a persistent ID and stored by Google.

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