Google has vowed to end its practice of collecting location data on a mass scale from Android-enabled smartphones after reports that such information was routinely sent for 11 months even when location services were disabled.
Privacy campaigners have reacted with anger to the news, equating the practice to a ‘betrayal’ of users who place their trust in the company. In response, Google insisted its actions were governed solely by a desire to ‘improve the speed and performance of message delivery’, and added that such information was never stored.
The practice saw Android phones record and transmit data obtained from nearby mobile phone masts before sending the details, which could be used to calculate an individual’s position, onto Google.
Google’s phone woes come as it sought to clampdown on another practice which has plagued it in recent months, ticket resellers offering second-hand tickets at vastly inflated prices.
In an effort to cut off such sellers at source, Google will mandate that from January all resellers must be certified by it before they can make use of its AdWords service while also being upfront about any discrepancy between the tickets face value and the sale amount.
Secondary ticketing websites will also be curtailed following criticism that they often rank higher than primary ticket outlets, even when tickets are still widely available, sowing much consumer confusion. As a result they will be required to clearly state that they are resellers.
Google has had its back to the wall on a number of fronts in recent months, including claims that it profited from child abuse on YouTube.