After a long period of consumer data mismanagement, Google finally announced a privacy-friendly feature that they will be releasing soon. This potentially secure and upcoming feature will automatically delete location history, web and app activity data from the user’s devices, after a specified period of time.
The new controls will be released very soon. Google disclosed in a blog post, “Here’s how they’ll work: Choose a time limit for how long you want your activity data to be saved—3 or 18 months—and any data older than that will be automatically deleted from your account on an ongoing basis. These controls are coming first to Location History and Web & App Activity and will roll out in the coming weeks. You should always be able to manage your data in a way that works best for you–and we’re committed to giving you the best controls to make that happen.”
Currently, Google allows users a certain amount of freedom to use the features on their devices. Such as, turning off activity tracking, turning on or off location services and a few more. However, in this new addition of features, the users can actually hold on to the information useful to them and set the other information on auto delete after a certain period of time, that is – 3 or 8 months.
Google aims to address these growing privacy concerns with the mobile tech companies/service providers gathering customer geographical data and other private information.
Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Commissioner, sent written enquiries to major US service providers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, expressing consumer concerns and seeking an update on their commitment to abandon the process of data selling third-parties such as location aggregation services.
Commissioner Rosenworcel also requested the mobile service providers to explain the crucial measures they are taking to ensure data aggregators delete or destroy any previously shared user location data.
“Real-time location information is sensitive data deserving the highest level of privacy protection. But it is evident from press reports that this data may have been sold without the explicit consent of consumers and without appropriate safeguards in place,” Rosenworcel wrote to the major cellular service providers.
Google’s efforts to address these concerns is definitely a step in the right direction. But how the industry will “actually” handle user data, only time will tell.