The US Congress has issued an open letter asking Google Director General Sundar Pichai to explain in detail why his company maintains a database containing accurate information about the location of hundreds of millions of consumers
Helps police in criminal investigations
The database – for internal purposes called Sensorvault – is maintained by Google to improve the services offered (more selective advertising, more accurate location services). It also helps the police in criminal investigations. The data reaches Google in the form of geographic coordinates that are accurately determined and provide the current location of users.
Google knows much more than anyone else.
Thanks to the data collected by the technology giant to sell advertising, Google has a wealth of information about you – from what you look like to where you live and where you traveled. In addition, he knows what you searched online and what sites you visited, people with whom you have contacts and what you are talking about, the company is able to use this information to adapt the content of ads to what you may be interested.
Google applications give the company a wealth of information about you, from personal data, to your interests and future goals – comments Jakub Tarczyński, technical engineer Bitdefender from Marken.
A letter to Google CEO.
As reported by The New York Times, based on data received from Google police has happened to erroneously lead to the detention of innocent people. Therefore, a letter to Google CEO is completely justified.
Relying on media reports – probably including an NYT article – Congress states that “Google collects in many ways accurate information about the location of people Using the history of the location downloaded from Android phones also the activity of the search engine and other Google app with the location turned on “
“What’s more, accurate location data is reportedly collected even when people do not make phone calls or use apps, which allows Google to track” the entire course of life “of a person.”
“Finally,” we read further in the letter, “Google apparently never removes any of the exact location information that is stored in the Sensorvault database. That it could develop a very detailed picture of the movements and whereabouts of a large number of consumers over the past decade.”
The recipient of the letter is asked to explain such things as:
- What information is stored in the Sensorvalt database and for what purpose?
- Who has access to the data and / or actually uses this opportunity (including cooperating entities and affiliates)?
- Does Google maintain other databases of similar purpose?
- What sources (applications, services) power the Sensorvault base?
- Are location data sent by default to the Sensorvault database by any Android phone, or does the user have to agree?
- Do users have control over this aspect of Google services?
- Can users refuse to track their location and collect data in the Sensorvault database?
- How accurate is location tracking by Google?
… and the list of questions does not end there.
Pichai has until May 7 to provide a written response. Congress also asks Google’s chairman to organize a meeting by 10 May, where the Commission will be able to find out more about the cases outlined in the list.