Google has just shut down a service which fed back network strength data from users phones back to carriers.
Called the Gooogle Mobile Network Insights service, it was sent free to carriers and powered by ay phone running Android with Google Play Services enabled. Users who had chosen to share their location history and diagnostics would get non-identifying data sent off to carriers so they could see how strong or how weak their networks were in certain areas.
Google shut down this service voluntarily because of privacy concerns and fears that this may breach the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation guidelines. There were also concerns about the “challenges ensuring data quality and connectivity upgrades among carriers being slow to materialize.”
“We worked on a program to help mobile partners improve their networks through aggregated and anonymized performance metrics,” Google spokesperson Victoria Keough told Reuters. “We remain committed to improving network performance across our apps and services for users.”
Google and other tech firms have been making pre-emptive moves to prevent investigation and regulation by bodies like the EU, and this seems like one of these moves. Google hasn’t been known for its privacy awareness, but it seems the feat of the ECJ is the beginning of this firm’s wisdom.