Privacy Blog

“By continuing the process of inflation, governments can confiscate secretly and unobserved an important part of the wealth of their citizens.” – John Maynard Keynes, writing about the effects of a seemingly small amount of inflation every year.

Google Location History Explained

Location History is a feature that Google introduced in 2009. It “saves where you go with your devices, even when you aren’t using a specific Google service.” That essentially means that tracking and recording of where you are occurs in the background, even when users don’t actively have a location app (like Google Maps) open on their phone.

Each location is shown by a red dot. For instance, here is the Google Location History for my travels, compressed significantly in order to fit into this blog’s display:

And, yes, I travel too much.

Anyone with access to your account can see where you have been for the past several years. “Anyone with access to your account” includes you, any family member who can access the account(s) of other family members, Google employees, police (if they have a court order or if they are acting illegally), government employees (if they have a court order or if they are acting illegally), foreign governments, illegal hackers, identity thieves, and credit card thieves around the world.

NOTE: Past history has shown that law enforcement personnel and many government employees often act illegally. Also, most foreign governments have spy agencies that typically pay no attention to the laws of any country.

You or anyone with legal or illegal access to your account can view the places where you’ve been, thanks to Google Maps Timeline.

Yes, you are carrying a tracking device in your pocket or purse, as long as it is an Android phone. Does that make you uncomfortable?

Luckily, you can turn Location History on or off or simply pause it for a while by following the instructions at: https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/3118687?hl=en.

You can read more in an article by Abner Li in the 9to5Google web site at: https://9to5google.com/2019/04/13/google-android-location-history-explained.

Categories: Offline Privacy & Security, Online Privacy & Security, Travel

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