Google rolls out auto-delete controls for Activity data that it collects - gHacks Tech News

Google rolls out auto-delete controls for Activity data that it collects

Google started the roll out of new privacy controls for its customers on May 1, 2019 that allow Google customers to configure auto-delete parameters for Activity data that Google collects.

Customers may enable auto-delete to have data deleted automatically when it reaches a certain age. As is the case with most Google features, the new functionality will roll out in the coming weeks to all Google customers.

Google records activity by default and customers of Google, free or otherwise, may manage some of these on the company's Activity Controls page. First released out in 2014 and updated several times throughout the years, Activity Controls is one of the central management locations that Google provides to its customers when it comes to data collecting and privacy.

The current iteration of the page gives users control over Web & App Activity, Location History, Device Information, Voice & Audio Activity, YouTube Search History, and the YouTube Watch History.

Privacy conscious users may want to turn all of these off, or make sure that Google gets no chance to record them in first place (e.g. by not signing in to an account whenever possible and not using Chrome).

It is easy enough to toggle all activity collection to pause, the only option available. Pausing won't delete content already recorded though, but you can do so on the My Activity page as well.

Google Activity auto-delete

google delete activity automatically

Auto-delete functionality will become available on the Activity Controls page for all Google customers in the coming weeks.

The feature is limited to Location History and Web & App Activity currently with other data collections that are listed on the My Activity page getting the auto-delete control at a later point in time.

A new "Choose to delete automatically" option is listed under Web & App Activity and Location History once the feature has been rolled out to the Google account.

A click on the option displays a configuration menu; use it to select for how long you want the data to be kept. Google limits this currently to three months or 18 months. Select Next to open the summary page and confirm the selection.

Google will delete the information automatically based on that configuration. Whether that means that any instance of the data is deleted from Google servers is unclear as it is nowhere mentioned.

Closing Words

Google stating that customers "should always be able to manage [their] data in a way that works best for [them]" is somewhat of an overstatement considering that Google customers are not in full control of data that Google collects when they use company products.

The auto-delete option may work for Google customers who have not set activity collecting to paused, e.g. because they use the services and features that rely on these.

Now You: Have you configured Activity collecting on Google?

Summary
Google rolls out auto-delete controls for Activity data that it collects
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Google rolls out auto-delete controls for Activity data that it collects
Description
Google started the roll out of new privacy controls for its customers on May 1, 2019 that allow Google customers to configure auto-delete parameters for Activity data that Google collects.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. me said on May 2, 2019 at 8:32 pm
    Reply

    As long as Google still lets you turn off recording for certain activities completely… otherwise, this sounds like a great way to grant themselves a “grace period” they’ll be allowed to collect data as they please.

    I’m not even convinced their old controls did much to hinder app usage history recording, or included Firebase – this would greatly displease developers.

    And logging out of your Google (Play) account – I haven’t tried, but what side effects does this have on Pro features in apps?

    1. Bunch of Crooks said on May 4, 2019 at 3:26 am
      Reply

      You can trust this about as much as trusting the CIA. You know, the people Google works for. They even named their company Alphabet. Get it? CIA FBI NSA DHS DIA … there’s like two dozen US intel agencies today, and that doesn’t include the rest of Five Eyes. Edward Snowden leaked the 2013 black budget for these agencies. Guess where the $25 billion they spent on “data collection” that year went? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Intelligence_Community#/media/File:US_intelligence_budget.png Google is going to turn out to be the biggest, most expensive espionage conspiracy in history.

  2. Rush said on May 2, 2019 at 8:33 pm
    Reply

    >>Google will delete the information automatically based on that configuration. Whether that means that any instance of the data is deleted from Google servers is unclear as it is nowhere mentioned.<<

    Uh huh…exactly……..

  3. some1 said on May 2, 2019 at 9:45 pm
    Reply

    This is only an illusion of control and privacy, especially on Android, because every app has unstoppable full internet access permission and can simply reset the other permissions after an update. and all Google related background services “require” full access to every aspect of your device at all time.

  4. 11r20 said on May 2, 2019 at 11:08 pm
    Reply

    “”Customers may enable auto-delete to have data deleted automatically when it reaches a certain age””

    Certain age means you’re data has a ‘shelf-life’ and has already been sold to the highest bidder

    Tweak your about:config settings and make sure google cannot access your browser, block all goolag analytics/telemetry with UblockOriginal, Make use of your OS’s firewall and Use Pi-hole or a similar variant for your router. You may find several goolag IP sets scattered throughout here>>>
    https://www.enjen.net/asn-blocklist/names.php
    Block all e100 network IP ranges that try to connect to you as well

  5. Mel said on May 3, 2019 at 1:13 am
    Reply

    The only reason why they are doing this is after 20 years Congress is finally figuring out Silicon Valley deceptive methods & Tactics.
    For example Congress has demanded Google CLEARLY answer to their data-collection tracking with SensorVault (a law-enforcement favorite) by May 7th and to testify on May 10th.
    https://www.cnet.com/news/google-questioned-by-congress-over-sensorvault-location-database/

    Google wants Congress to back-off because they take data-raping of citizens privacy seriously. Besides they are busy working hard to water-down CA new privacy law even before it takes effect January 2020.

    So guys so them some empathy (profits are down) and just answer their Captcha’s[1]. Google services are designed to identify everyone, everywhere all-the-time. Please submit to these brilliant psychopaths!

    [1] Also turn off the effective ad-blocking too – what’s a billionaire to otherwise do?

  6. Benjamin said on May 3, 2019 at 11:34 am
    Reply

    Why should a privately held purely for profit corporation do anything good for anyone…? I still vote for a system which brings telecom technology into the public domain just the way water was before it was being privatised

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