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November 19, 2019 10:10 pm

Senators Ask Zuckerberg To Explain Why Facebook Still Tracks Users' Location Even When They Have Asked it Not To

Two senators are asking Facebook to "respect" users' decisions to keep their location data from the company. From a report: In a letter sent Tuesday, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to respond to questions about how the company collects location data through the new operating systems for Apple's iPhones and Google's Android. Both Google and Apple updated their operating systems earlier this year to give users more control and insight into which apps can access their location data. Anticipating those changes, Facebook released a blog post in September explaining that even if users opt out of letting Facebook collect their data, it could still determine users' locations in other ways, like through check-ins and users' internet connections. "If a user has decided to limit Facebook's access to his or her location, Facebook should respect these privacy choices," the senators, members of the Judiciary Committee, wrote in the letter to Zuckerberg. "The language in the blog post, however, indicates that Facebook may continue to collect location data despite user preferences, even if the user is not engaging with the app, and Facebook is simply deducing the user's location from information about his or her internet connection. Given that most mobile devices are connected to the internet nearly all the time, whether through a cellular network or a Wi-Fi connection, this practice would allow Facebook to collect user location data almost constantly, irrespective of the user's privacy preferences. Users who have selected a restrictive location services option could reasonably be under the misimpression that their selection limits all of Facebook's efforts to extract location information."

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