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Google Maps for iPhone violates European data protection law

Anonymous Coward writes | about a year and a half ago

Google 0

An anonymous reader writes "When users install Google Maps on their iPhone, the option to share location data with Google is switched on by default. By doing this, Google violates European data protection law, according to a German data protection watchdog.

When the app is downloaded, Google prompts users to accept its terms of service and privacy policy in the startup screen. On the same screen, the Maps app warns users that they are about to share their location data with Google. "Help us improve Google, including traffic and other services. Anonymous location data will be collected by Google's location service and sent to Google, and may be stored on your device," Google tells users.

However, the option box next to the text is switched on by default, which isn't allowed by European data protection law, said Marit Hansen, deputy privacy and information commissioner at the Independent Centre for Privacy Protection Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, in an email.

When a company wants to process personal data, users have to give informed consent instead of opting out, she said. "So I conclude that the current implementation is not compliant with current European data protection law, even if Google now offers an opt-out possibility," Hansen said."

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