Google Is Accused of Data Privacy - Sundar Pichai Testifies Before Congress
Google is making several moves recently to ensure the privacy and security of the users. Recent data breach had forced Google to shut down Google+ and also Google has announced that they will shut down Allo. Google's CEO Mr Sundar Pichai was asked to testify before U.S. Congress and Mr Pichai was clear enough to consider both the company's principles and users' data policy. Pichai was made to testify in front of several senators for about 3 hours.
Image Source: CNET
Data privacy is an important aspect when a company wants to use people's information and serve them with services. Most of the questions shooted to Pichai was about Location Services. They want Pichai to clarify whether Google tracks every movement of users.
Do Google Track Location If You Just Move To Another Corner of Room?
Mr Poe, one of the senators asked if Google will be able to track if he moves from his current place and sits in another place in the same room. He started with, "I have an iPhone." Although Pichai tried to convince the senator that it depends on Google services he has opted for, Poe did not gets convinced.
The location services on iPhone or Android phone depends on how the user has granted permission. Any app that requires location services will prompt you for permission to be able to access location services even when the app is closed. If you have granted them, the app has all the privileges to use your location services. However, your phone might remind you of the same but not repeatedly.
Google Maps require location services to access even when the app goes to background. This is because the app lets you listen to driving navigation instructions. However, we do not know if Google really tracks you even when you are not using the navigation on Google Maps.
Few other services such as Fitness-tracking apps will also access your location to keep track of steps and moves. Pichai also pointed out the same to one of the senators who asked the question regarding Google which is tracking the location of users.
Can Google Customize Their Search Results?
One of the senators had concerns about showing irrelevant results on Google Search Results page. If you search "idiot" on Google Images, the Google Image Search returns pictures of US President Donald Trump as the result. When Pichai was asked about the same, Pichai told that they do not manipulate any search results and there is no human intervention behind all these search results. Trillions of searches were made last year and its the automated algorithm that indexes web pages and shows them relevantly when users search for a certain keyword.
Pichai told that Google cannot customize the search results, however, one of the senators was not agreeing to the point.
Most of the questions were about the search results and location services. Pichai told that he would follow up for the few questions but answered most of the questions. Most of the time Google was lauded for being an American icon as it helps in providing information, search jobs and more. Data privacy is a big concern and even companies like Google must adhere to data privacy and protection policies very firmly. Facebook was also accused of data privacy and the company CEO, Mark Zuckerberg testified.