Google has banned a company that sold Android users’ location data for COVID-19 mapping and other purposes. Motherboard reports. SafeGraph was one of many companies that collected geolocation records using extensions from other Android apps and then collected it for organizations including The New York Times and Centers for disease control.
By Motherboard, Google told developers in June that they had to remove the SafeGraph software development kit within seven days. Motherboard says it’s not clear if SafeGraph will continue to collect data from Android apps and Limit has confirmed this to Google and SafeGraph.
SafeGraph’s ban follows previous repression against location-gathering applications. In December 2020, Google and Apple banned a similar X-Mode Social service that is said to be worked with the U.S. military among other customers. Apple did not immediately respond to a request to comment on its SafeGraph policy.
SafeGraph information is meant to be anonymous, but like Motherboard discusses, location data sets can often reveal information about individuals despite these safeguards. And while users must agree to the location collection of individual applications, many are unaware of how their data is used.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who often evaluates location collection applications (and bill sponsor which would limit their use in law enforcement) offered both praise and criticism for denying the service. “This is Google’s real business, but they and Apple need to do more than just play scam with apps that sell American location data. These companies need a real plan to protect users ’privacy and security from these malicious applications,” he said in a statement. Limit.