Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, has announced that Google are to simplify the process that Android phones use to share data. This follows a series of questions in the US Senate about how locational data is stored in mobile handsets. The main focus of the questions was the recent revelations that Apple iPhones, Microsoft and Android handsets were recording location date without the owner’s knowledge.
One of the first developments will be a new Google Dashboard that will allow users to opt in or out of location based services. Mr Schmidt told crowd members at the Big Tent debate that Google were working hard on a series of projects that will increase transparency and improve user privacy settings.
However, Mr Schmidt did choose to highlight the company’s need for user information. He commented: “In general we take the position that you own your data and should be able to opt in or out of a service. If you choose to give us that information we can do a better job. If we know a little bit more about you we can offer better targeted search.”
Following the recent discoveries and the US Senate meeting there has been increased interest in supplying users with the choice to opt out of location based services. Countering this are claims from sites such as Facebook that privacy is dead and it gets in the way of innovation.
“There is this myth that privacy stifles innovation. It helps to reassure consumers, therefore encourages innovation,” commented Simon Davies, head of Privacy International.