Google questioned by regulators over location knowledge assortment

Google is going through scrutiny for reportedly accumulating knowledge in regards to the location of smartphone customers with out their information.

Regulators in South Korea summoned Google (GOOGL, Tech30) representatives this week to query them a few report that claimed the corporate was accumulating knowledge from Android gadgets even when location companies have been disabled.

The Korea Communications Fee (KCC) “is finishing up an inquiry into the claims that Google collected customers’ Cell ID knowledge with out consent even when their smartphone’s location service was inactive,” Chun Ji-hyun, head of KCC’s privateness infringement division, instructed CNNMoney on Friday.

U.Okay. knowledge safety officers are additionally trying into the matter.

“Organizations are required by legislation to be clear with customers about what they’re doing with private info,” mentioned a spokesperson for the Info Commissioner’s Workplace. “We’re conscious of the experiences in regards to the monitoring system and are involved with Google.”

The probes comply with a report by Quartz which discovered Android telephones have been accumulating addresses of close by mobile towers. These addresses have been included in info, similar to Cell ID codes, despatched to Google for practically a yr.

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Google mentioned the info was collected to enhance notifications and message supply, and was not saved on Google servers. Android telephones are now not requesting Cell ID codes, and assortment needs to be phased out this month, it mentioned.

“In January of this yr, we started trying into utilizing Cell ID codes as a further sign to additional enhance the pace and efficiency of message supply,” a Google spokesman mentioned in a press release to CNNMoney.

Google by no means included the info into its system, “in order that knowledge was instantly discarded, and we up to date [the network system] to now not request Cell ID,” the spokesman added.

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If Google collected Cell IDs with out consent, the corporate might have violated South Korea’s Location Knowledge Safety Act, whether or not the info was saved on Google’s U.S. servers or not, mentioned Hwang Solar-chul, an official with KCC’s fee’s privateness infringement division.

An official investigation has not but been launched, and extra info will seemingly want to come back from Google’s U.S. headquarters, Hwang mentioned.

Android telephones dominate the global market. In South Korea, smartphones utilizing Google’s Android working system, together with Samsung (SSNLF) and LG (LPL) gadgets, account for greater than 80% of the market, in keeping with analysis agency IDC.

CNNMoney (Hong Kong) First printed November 24, 2017: eight:21 AM ET

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Google questioned by regulators over location information assortment

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