If you are confident that Google’s app store’s rules will keep your location data from falling into the hands of companies that sell it to the government, you may have to reconsider. A new report by the US Treasury Department revealsit has investigated the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for buying the user’s location data from the open market. However, the IRS is not the only one. The military, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are also involved.
Agencies have maintained innocence, saying that they aren’t involved in anything illegal since they’re only buying commercially available data collected from consenting users . However, the report says that a 2018 supreme court ruling compelling law enforcement to seek warrants before collecting cellphone tower data was applicable for location data.
According to the news outlets, Google didn’t take the measures required to safeguard users’ data, despite having knowledge of the privacy infringement.
However, the source of the data isn’t your mobile phone but the apps on it, which may send the location data back to parent companies engaged with selling it to advertisers, marketers, and the government, among other parties. If you are an Android user and have installed apps on your phone, your location may also be at risk of being shared with the US intelligence agencies.
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Source: Wall street journal