Privacy concerns are raising questions about how far Google can go to make money from advertising

2022-08-03 0 By

Even after being fined $5 billion, Google’s privacy woes remain.This time, Google is in the sights of several state attorneys general, and lawsuits have been filed, again aimed at violating users’ privacy.For Google, it is the advertising business, its mainstay of revenue, on one side, and the risks of collecting user data on the other.Such a choice, in the context of Internet data security, is not destined to be an isolated case.On January 24th Washington DC, along with Texas, Indiana and Washington state, filed a lawsuit against Google for “deceptive” location-tracking practices that violate users’ privacy.”Google has mistakenly led consumers to believe that changing their account and device Settings will protect their privacy and control the personal data Google may have access to,” D.c. Attorney General Carl Racine said in a statement.But in fact, contrary to Google’s claims, Google continues to systematically spy on its users and profit from their data.Google’s bold action is a clear violation of consumer privacy.””Location data is key to Google’s advertising business.”Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson pointed out.Google is not lying down to the prosecutors’ charges.Jose Castaneda, a spokesman for The company, said, “The attorney general’s lawsuit is based on inaccurate and outdated statements about Google.We have been adding privacy features to our products and providing strong control over location data.We will vigorously defend ourselves and clarify the facts.”Beijing Business Daily contacted Google for further details, but did not receive a specific response as of press time.At issue is whether Google, a browser giant that relies on users’ personal data to enable “personalised services”, mishandled users’ information.In the lawsuit, the court cited a 2018 Associated Press article that revealed that Google continues to track users’ locations even after they have turned off the location history setting.Computer science researchers at Princeton University later confirmed the AP’s findings.While Google claims that turning off location History will stop any location tracking, it actually has a separate setting called Web and App Activity that will continue to record users’ location and other personal data.In response to the disclosure of the secret collection of user information, Google said that it can use the information collected to improve the user experience in a variety of ways.”We provide clear descriptions of these tools and strong controls so people can turn them on or off and delete their history at any time,” Google insisted.But Google’s claim was quickly contradicted by various experts.Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton university computer scientist and former chief technologist for the FCC’s enforcement bureau, said lab researchers found that Google was tracking users’ information without permission on multiple phones and that “it’s wrong to store location data contrary to users’ preferences.”Officials such as Senator Mark Warner of Virginia and Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey have also argued for consumer privacy and data security legislation to give users more control over their data.”They’re building advertising messages out of data,” says Peter Lentz, senior geospatial analyst at AD technology firm Dstillery, more bluntly. “For them, more data could mean more profit.”Google itself has said that relying on users’ location history since 2014 has improved advertisers’ ability to drive traffic, according to the Associated Press.According to Google parent Alphabet’s THIRD-quarter 2021 earnings report, revenue hit a record $65.1 billion in the third quarter, and the company’s advertising business grew 43.2 percent to $53.1 billion.Google makes a lot of money, but regulators won’t let it go easily.This isn’t the first time Google has been taken to court for violating users’ privacy.As recently as June 2020, Google was fined $5 billion for violating users’ privacy.According to the lawsuit, The practice has been going on since at least 2014.The first internet-related lawsuits were filed in Europe in May 2014.The case stems from a lawsuit filed by Mario Costega Gonzalez, a Spanish man, against Google for Posting personal information about him on a Web page in Google’s Browser.Although Google argued that it had no right to remove legally posted information from the web, the court ruled against the company and immediately removed the information.Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner responsible for fundamental human and civil rights, said the ruling was a huge victory for personal data protection.Google’s problems are not unique. As web applications penetrate deeper into everyday life, the debate about the Internet’s invasion of users’ privacy continues.Google user Xiao Li told Beijing Business Daily: “I feel it’s hard to avoid privacy leaks now.Compared to Google, many domestic software is more terrible, and friends chat about anything, immediately software recommendations appear.It feels like being bugged all the time.”She said she still uses Google more to reduce irrelevant web ads.Beijing Business Daily reporter Yang Yuehan intern reporter Meng Yue