A lawsuit was filed last week in Michigan against Google (GOOG) for tracking and storing users’ location data from the Android. The $50 million lawsuit against Google attempts to stop the company from selling phones with software that tracks user location. A similar lawsuit was recently filed against Apple for the same reasons – privacy violations with iPhone’s location data logging process.
Google admitted last week in gathering location-related info, which includes GPS, Wi-Fi addresses, and device IDs, from Android-based devices but explained that this is untraceable to a particular user. For safety purposes, users have the choice to disable GPS tracking, but this will reduce the accuracy of positioning in maps and location-based services.
Location data is a big business for these companies, as the data allows them to provide location-based services such as target advertising, or play a critical role in check-in applications like Foursquare or Facebook’s system. However, these companies have also had a hard time coming clean about it, since some consumers may see it as a breach of their privacy.
A series of internal e-mails from last year highlights how important location data is to Google, and likely gives more ammunition to privacy advocates over how these companies track your every move. Google has not yet released a public statement or comments on the lawsuit.
The e-mails were written by then-CEO Larry Page following a move by Motorola to replace Google’s location service system within its phones with that of a competitor, Skyhook. According to the e-mails obtained by the San Jose Mercury News, Page wasn’t too happy about Motorola’s decision.