Google is illegally tracking Android users through adverts, claims privacy group

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Tech giant Google has received an official complaint targeting the company's privacy gathering methods. The methods are said to go against user consent laws in the European Union.

Filed by Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, (via Ars) the complaint claims that the tech giant is illegally collection the data of Android users.

Is Google tracking me through my android phone?

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Schrems' official complaint claims that Google is tracking Android users through the OS' unique advertising codes. These codes track the browsing information of Android users to better prepare relevant adverts to push onto apps and websites. However, these codes are allegedly the crux of Android security.

The complaint focuses on the creation and storage of these advertising codes without knowledge of the user. With no explicit information from users requested for Google and third party companies to track user activities, the complaint claims that the company is breaking EU law.

“Through these hidden identifiers on your phone, Google and third parties can track users without their consent,” said Stefano Rossetti, the privacy lawyer of Schrems' activist group, Noyb. “It is like having powder on your hands and feet, leaving a trace of everything you do on your phone—from whether you swiped right or left to the song you downloaded.”

Read More:What are Google Stadia Direct Touch controls?

Does Apple also track users?

Schrems' activist group Noyb filed similar complaints towards Apple last year. In previous versions of iOS, Apple tracked users in a very similar way to Android with their IDFA codes. Noyb claimed that the company tracked data without consent, which Apple has since refuted.

However, Apple is has started to fix their data gathering protocols with new iOS features. In iOS 14, users are given the option of allowing the user of IDFA tracking for more consistent advertisements. Users can also refuse this.

Read More:This serious Chromebook security flaw gives people access to your location data