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Multiple class-action lawsuits have been filed in the past month against Google and Facebook arguing that they break constitutional rights of privacy, the invasion of privacy law, and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.
A suit filed by Brett Heegar in California District Court argues Facebook mines user location information even after location tracking is turned off. It concludes that Facebook violated the Consent Decree of 2011 which mandates that the company won’t misrepresent security or privacy-related options to any degree.
Another suit filed by Stacy Smedly and Fedrick Davis against Google contends that the company deceptively hides its “app activity and web” toggle, which logs location and usage data even in cases where location history is disabled.
If these allegations turn out to be true, then both Facebook and Google have been watching where you go and what you do without your consent. The good news is if both lawsuits succeed, then these companies will be responsible for paying out damages of $1,000 or more to anyone who claims they were affected by the data harvest. For anyone keeping track, that’s enough to buy the new iPhone XS.
Earlier in the year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees regarding similar allegations. He claimed that Facebook has taken every measure possible to protect and prevent exploitation of user data. Most people claimed he looked like a robot and was lying most of the time.
For anyone interested in real privacy, it’s recommended that you go into the settings panel for all the services you use and disable as many location and data-related options as possible. Alternatively, you can throw your phone off a cliff.