Google Fi to carriers: don't sell our customers' location data to third parties


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/11/thats-our-job.html


#2

I suspect Google doesn’t want others to sell this information because they want to use it themselves.


#3

Yeah, Google saying “don’t sell user data” always feels like it has an implicit “that’s our job” hanging off the end.


#4

On the other hand, I’m just about to switch over to Google Fi from Sprint after many years. Anyone who’s using it already have any warnings or tips? I’m hoping to bring my existing phone (Galaxy S5).


#5

Google will use the data, but AFAIK, they don’t sell it. There’s no place on Google.com where you can pay to download a big database of user data.


#6

I bet they’re using the data in some proprietary way. To teach their AIs or something, I don’t really care what, but you can be pretty sure that at some point they’ll make lots of money from it. No selling it to potential competitors needed.


#7

Once you’ve sold information, how do you prevent it from being resold, or shared, or uploaded to the Singularity or whatever?


#8

Fi customer here. I switched from Sprint as well, and I don’t regret it. The initial setup is pretty straightforward. You install the Fi app, and then put in their SIM, and it mostly just works. I’ve only used a Nexus 6P and a Pixel XL on it so far, so you may have a different experience. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like your phone is officially supported (they only list back to the S6). Take a look at https://fi.google.com/compatibility to see what your options are.

I was on a 1GB/month plan before, so it was relatively easy for me to adapt to a billing model where all data is charged, but the pricing is not great if you rely on a lot of mobile data.


#9

I also use Google Fi on a Nexus 6P. The international data can’t be beat - I got the phone for a trip to Japan, and it worked flawlessly.

I have my phone logged in on a local email account, not gmail.com. As a byproduct, its location data is very sporadic and error-laden, which is an accidental way of obtaining privacy.


#10

Another Fi user here. Best if you phone has ability to switch between carriers – the hardware’s not required anymore, but that is part of the advantage of Fi: to switch seamlessly between carriers. Also, Fi worked fine for me in Indonesia (I even tethered an ATT user b/c they couldn’t get data reception).


#11

Any Fi users in Alaska? What’s the expected speeds for data?


#12

because Carriers are going to listen to what google say ?

some countries carriers block you from tethering , and i found out that my google fi is blocked from tethering there also ( it tethers on my other trips )

so yeah , not much weight to google asks


#13

Have had Project/Google Fi for years. Best cell service I’ve ever used. Google already knows everything about me/you/anyone anyway.


#14


#15

I use it where I primarily reside in the CA Bay Area with excellent results - (recently in Shenzhen as well - excellent 4G there!). In the past I’ve had OK service in AK when I’ve visited (it was better than when I was on T-Mobile - which hasn’t been represented in the northland AFAIK). But, this last holiday season - I had almost zero connection around Anchorage, (occasionally caught an EDGE connection on the south side, but in general it was non-existent).

Since Fi is a virtual provider - (relying on deals with the tower operators), it seems like something might have changed recently that has affected the arrangements, (I feel like I heard something about a shift in GCI’s status (did they sell to AT&T?), perhaps that’s related?). On the Fi website - there is a service area checker - might want to monitor that and see if there are any signs of deveopments.


#16

If they are selling data it would be through discreetly engaged with big companies not through an online store.


#17

Indeed, the word “expect” makes me think this is not much more protection than if I told my carrier that I expect them not to sell my data. But presumably over time it will enter contracts with the carriers.


#18

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