Facebook, Google In Legal Trouble Over Tracking Cell Phones

As if privacy concerns weren’t already a big enough issue in 2018. This week it was revealed that two of the world’s biggest tech companies have been spying on user locations without their consent. The two lawsuits filed against Facebook and Google claim that the company’s free to download apps are being used to track a cell phone.

You may be asking yourself, why would a huge tech company like Facebook or Google would be interested in your location data? Well, the answer is quite simple. It’s all an attempt to sell you more ads. Its all an attempt to sell you more ads. Basically, big companies like Facebook and Google try to collect as much information as possible on their users to target them with tailor-made ads, specific to their lifestyle. This is part of the reason why privacy issues have been such a huge topic this year. As many of these tech companies are stockpiling massive databases full of your personal information, with (and without) your consent.

How Facebook And Google Track A Cell Phone

Facebook, Google In Legal Trouble Over Tracking Cell Phones

By default, these apps are granted access to your phone’s location history as soon as they’re downloaded onto your device. While this may seem like an invasion of privacy, both of these apps allow users to opt out of location tracking. From a technical standpoint, this should be enough to stop the apps from tracking the location of the device. However, this is where things get a little shady. The developers of these apps intentionally make the opt out settings so difficult to find that most users give up before ever reaching the checkbox. But even worse than this, both lawsuits claim that the opt out settings provided by Facebook and Google do not work. So even if you somehow find your way to the location tracking opt out screen, chances are it won’t do anything to help keep your personal information safe.

Privacy Concerns Surrounding Facebook & Google

Facebook, Google In Legal Trouble Over Tracking Cell Phones

This isn’t the first time Facebook has been accused of collecting personal information without their user’s consent. And it sure doesn’t seem like this is going to be the last time either. Instead of adhering to their promise for more transparency, Facebook continues to rely on the same shady business practices they’ve used in the past. The only questions that now remain are, how far will Facebook go to collect your personal information and how long until their bad behavior catches up with them?

Much like Facebook, Google doesn’t have a perfect track record when it comes to user privacy either. That being said, they’ve yet to be called in for questioning by the Supreme Court, so at least they have that going for them. This lawsuit however, is the first major obstacle facing Google in terms of user privacy rights. Will they go down the path of Facebook, and continue their unsavory business practices? Or will they turn over a new leaf and become a more transparent company going forward? Only time will tell.

Related: 14 Million Users Exposed by Facebook Privacy Bug