Google Joins Apple in Mobile Tracking Scandal
Google has formally joined Apple on the list of tech giants involved in mobile tracking scandals. Following weeks of controversy stemming from the recent discovery that Apple's iOS tracks user location information, on Tuesday Google joined the party as South Korean police raided Google's Seoul offices. The raid was promoted by concern and accompanying reports that Google is collecting sensitive user information without informed consent from customers.
According to Reuters, South Korean police have been snooping around Google's AdMob advertising division and the findings lead to the sudden and surprising search. "We suspect AdMob collected personal location information without consent or approval from the Korean Communication Commission," an official with the South Korean police stated. For now, Google will only confirm that the raid did, indeed, happen. No comment from the company other than to express Google's cooperation with any subsequent investigation.
"Every technology has a flip side. Location-based services benefit customers by helping them find nearby restaurants, gas stations and other places with their smartphones," Kim Kwang-jo, a computer science professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, tells Reuters. "But it could potentially violate consumer privacy. There are loopholes in location-based services, and companies should get consent from customers to collect location data."
Yesterday, we reported that Apple is preparing a remedy for the iOS tracking bug and will release iOS 4.3.3 in the coming weeks to hopefully end this saga once and for all. For the time being, however, it isn't clear what - of anything - Google has potentially done wrong or how the search and mobile giant will remedy any discovered user privacy violations.