Big Brother --- Google

Ever wonderd what Google all tracks and keeps data from you… at least they are transparent… however…

It’s scary


Your location history …

And even more scary is all the data they collected, it can take days to have the report made for download

Simply go to and ask for an export …

That’s strange, when I click on your links I get a message asking me to log in. It’s almost as if I stopped using Big Brother Google when they removed their “Don’t Be Evil” slogan.

My location history is blank. I guess that is something they keep track of for android users.

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Your local location history may be blank but you can be sure that the data is still saved in the google servers. Google and the tower network continues to keeps track of your location and stores this info along with all the rest of the info they keep, even if you have location services turned completely off.

So Google is somehow getting my location from my iphone? That is quite the trick. Now if I happen to open a browser and browse to a site that has google content on it (an add or something), then maybe. But other than that it would be quite the magic trick. Does apple have all that information? I’m sure they do. Do I care. No. Not in the slightest.

No, your location is always triangulated by the cell towers you hit. In the city they have the location of your phone within feet at all times.
If your location service is turned off google will get far less information but they are not cut off.

Just thought of the really funny part. The police and courts use this information to get arrests and convictions by tying a phone’s location to a crime scene, but they must get a court order to get this info from the phone company. Google gets this information as part of their standard data flow without need for any warrant.

Like I said, for them to get any from me, I would have to go to a google site. Does the phone company know where my phone is? Sure. But why would google get it if I just have my phone in my pocket?

Now if I had an android phone, yeah, I’m sure it would send that data back. But my iphone has no reason to report location to google unless I run one of their apps or go to a site with a google service.

Now if this thread and comments are just to say that my location is known by someone other than me. Sure. But saying that Google knows where I am at all time, that’s just incorrect.

I’m sorry, I missed you point.

You are correct. On your iPhone, google does not have much, if any, access to your data.

In your case it is Apple that has everything, lolz!

My Google history is empty, nothing there.

I’ve had location sharing and location history disabled for years, along with WiFi and Bluetooth scanning. I’d like to have the functionality at times, but I don’t want to spend the battery and data on it. It makes a noticeable difference in battery life.

You can also tell Google to expire the data after a set period, but that would still require the data to be sent, which is what I don’t want.

They’re still sneaky, always trying to persuade me to enable location history, search history etc. They’re almost begging me to do it in order to get certain features. And you need to go through an ever growing list of menus in the Google app and on your account to find all the places to turn it off. But it’s doable, and I believe it works.

If they still secretly collect and save the data despite it, that would be blatantly illegal, and they’d be looking at huge fines. Particularly in the EU, where Margrethe Vestager has made little doubt how much she despises Google. They’ve already been fined billions for much lesser infractions.

I don’t think they would take that risk for such a small gain. Few people have the patience or persistence to turn the collection off and keep it off. It’s small potatoes.

Microsoft OTOH, are the worst about data collection, and always were. I use Edge, both on phone and PC, but with Google set as my search engine. But MS still uses Bing if I accidently use the search box on new tabs (instead of the address line). One search is all it takes, and I’ll be spammed with overtly “relevant” ads on every web page I visit the following weeks. And they do NOT provide ways to turn this collection off like Google does. At least not that I’ve found.

All the big players want to collect your data and monetize it if they can. But some pretend to be holier (such as Apple) whereas Google never made any secret that this is their business, and they want you in. But at least they give you opt-outs. Of course Facebook is the worst and really bad at covering it up. And Microsoft seems to have gotten a pass despite them being some of the worst.


I like AnyFarmers summary.

How about starting a discussion about pros and cons of different ways to protect ur data?

There are some more or less good ways, like e.g. AOSP, Pi-Hole, Ubuntu-Phone, Torbox, Owncloud, VPNs, Chromium, DuckDuckGo, etc.

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The problem with custom ROMs on phones (AOSP etc) is that soon you won’t be able to make phone calls, once the carriers turn off their 3G service next year. Most custom ROMs lack VoLTE.

I am not completely up-to-date, maybe that situation improved. But even if some custom ROMs now have VoLTE, they still need to have built-in IMS settings for each individual carrier. These settings are far too complex for users to enter - hundreds of times more complex than APNs. And carriers will not share their settings anyway.

So you’re stuck with stock, i.e. the carrier’s stock ROM. After fighting custom ROMs and rooting for years, they finally found a better way to lock you in.

This is also the carriers’ new way to circumvent the legal requirement that phones can be carrier unlocked. Even if unlocked, the phone may not have the IMS settings of the competing carrier you want to use. So again, you’re stuck.

And when you travel to another country or region, you have to use your home carrier’s expensive roaming, instead of an inexpensive local SIM, since your phone likely won’t support IMS settings for carriers outside your own region.

All this hasn’t happened yet, but it will, starting in 2022.

I know that wasn’t the subject you called for, but to me, carriers and cable companies/ISPs are the real fight for consumers. Not Google, Apple, Microsoft - or even Facebook.

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You can also turn it off in maps

They don’t really use the cell site triangulation anymore - gps is much more accurate.

@WolfGT Also mentioned he was using an iphone, so unless he’s using google maps, google won’t directly get the location info.

However - indirectly they can. So you use an Iphone, but you also use other non-apple apps on the iphone. These other apps might use google for ads. So when they report your phone for an ad auction, they will give the location (apple has some restrictions but a lot of apples privacy restrictions are window dressing), these apps might be reporting your location to google. It’s not as accurate or as up to date as an android phone with location tracking on, but it’s enough.
There’s another caveat - apple requires phones to use the an apple id (not your personal app id, this is for ad tracking only) for ads, which you can reset (or nullify as of this year I think) - but that is something ad tech people have learned to work around. A lot of effort in the last 5 years or so has gone into cross device matching so they can figure out if you’re the same person on multiple devices and across multiple iterations of you ad ids provided by google, app etc.

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To me it’s worth it. I’m one person of billions. Somebody wants to steal me? Good luck. At least with Google there is some level of assurance they won’t fall victim to hackers. Everything we do or put online behind a “password” is going to get into somebody’s hands at some point. Our info isn’t safe so if you are online, then you should accept what goes on. Nothing is ever free and to be perfectly honest the contributions that Google provides that help me every day? I’m fine with the agreement.


I travel a lot and love the location history feature. Also in the city where I live it shows me the heatmap of places I spend most time in, very insightful

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You are a voice of reason over paranoia. Google provides (us who utilize it) many useful and valuable services at (no additional) cost over (some, not all) personal data. Good for us (and them).

If you have the license for such statements, can I also have mine?

Maybe you recall when Elinor Mills used Google public info to write about Eric Schmidt (former G. CEO), and in response Schmidt banned CNET for a year or so? That was still when G. statement was “do no evil.” As Schmidt stated at that time, “if you do not want your info to be sold, cut all wires.” Apparently, in his mind, that logic only applies to masses, not to him.

Have you ever wondered, when fraudsters target elderly, minority groups, where do they get such specific lists?

Have you thought why G. prefers to work with China, etc. governments and abandon their public statement about your privacy rights?

I guess, when we are not (yet) members of groups that are being exploited, everything seems cool. Once you meet some criteria, you are just doomed.

I’m guessing you are 100% correct, unless you can fight back.

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If you worry about Big Brother it’s time to unplug. Google has messed up in the past yes. They are a corporation that has to eat everything it comes across. It just so happens that they bring some of the best tech and software that genuinely makes life better. I’ve been burned by Google on a business level but I understand it. Glad I’m not a newspaper or dependent on them for my business. In terms of what info they have? Be glad it’s them and not a couple other countries collecting and using our data and information. Further, name a company that isn’t milking your personal data every chance they get.


You are joking, right?

No, that is their MO right now. They (or rather everyone) don’t care much about being caught, as the penalty is just a slap on the wrist. Potentially, the only thing that they are afraid of is being broken up, as that is the end of their (and others) monopoly. That is where they spend the most.

Once you open the door, it’s open for everyone, so I am not sure why you think it is only them that have your info. Again, I am not trying to bang on them, but rather on the processes that are right now in place.

The second problem in your thought process is that they do not collect all that info, because they just like to fill their HDs with that. They (like everyone else) are in business of selling that info (e.g., those list of elderly people that are prone to “your grandchild in need” fraud).

As far as what they collect, think why they were cracking/collecting WiFi passwords.

At least Apple officially stated that they will start looking at every picture you have on your device. Those other companies have already lifted those pictures, etc. from your device.