Jason Kint Profile picture
May 28, 2021 29 tweets 11 min read

more unsealed docs, this time in the Google case led by Arizona Attorney General.
The newly unsealed material is underlined in green unsealed this week (left). Last year, Google proactively unsealed less risky material (right) when Judge first ruled. /1 ImageImage
When Association Press broke original report leading to this lawsuit, it triggered an emergency meeting with an *attention-grabbing* meeting name. The yellow here was actually learned last year when Google proactively unsealed bits (likely trying to muffle press cycles). /2 Image
But now we get the fully unsealed evidence which shows a much more important fact - CEO Sundar Pichai was directly involved. In fact, he received “code yellow” updates from an SVP who oversaw the area of concern who started at Google more than twenty years ago an intern. /3 Image
Most damning in newly unsealed evidence (1) Google’s employees admitting there's almost no way NOT to provide your location to Google (2) Google designs its ecosystem for location data collection.
“This doesn’t sound like something we would want on the front page of the NYT.” /4 Image
In fact, the VP of Maps at Google admitted during deposition that the only way to avoid Google inferring your home and work address is to essentially decide your own device by inserting false addresses. 🤦🏼‍♂️/5 Image
“WAA” stands for “Web and App Activity”… apparently you can turn it off and Location History off but then Google Maps does the surveillance for Google (note to all, switch to Apple Maps). Employees didn't seem to get this either. /6 Image
But we also learned in this newly unsealed material that something happens when settings make it easier for users to express their expectations not to have their physical location tracked. /7 Image
How big of a drop-off was it? Check this out from the unsealed discovery. When users turned off location services more and more, it made search less effective on the phone. That's a BIG problem for Google. /8 Image
Google had to go to work to bury the setting and get OEM partners to do the same in order to drive back up what they call the "Location Attach Rate." Again, unsealed parts in green. /9 Image
We don't know who all rolled over for Google. The complaint and employees said they didn’t have much choice as the only way to have Google’s key apps was to use their preferred design of Android. We did learn LG made the change for Google. /10 Image
This is all core to their surveillance economics. Attorney General’s team rightly looked at the resources Google uses to maximize “location attach rates.” You could also frame this as a surveillance beacon considering how Google appears to abuse it. /11 Image
Google’s own employees even comment how Apple is eating its lunch in the US market. No doubt, this only has become more so as Apple rolled out enhanced privacy features on iOS and its browser while Google’s surveillance economics continue to get more and more attention. /12 Image
Google's own employees seem to recognize Google’s need to maximize surveillance economics creates a tension with how users expect their Google-owned browser and operating system should work. This problem is getting worse by the day. /13
We also now see in exhibits that the AP story triggered honest reactions from Google’s own employees. Someone - likely in legal department - begged employees not to comment on the report likely knowing it would ultimately be included in discovery materials. /14 Image
Google employees' disgust and concern is immediately evident.
Even a privacy-focused Google engineer couldn’t protect her/his own location from the company. There is more here that's insane where they use non-google builds to try to not be tracked by their own company. /15 🤦🏼‍♂️ Image
This wasn’t exactly a new problem as it was identified there were five different settings to configure how they mine device usage. /16 Image
Amazing. According to the unsealed complaint, the senior product executive ***at Google*** and ***responsible for location services*** did not know how Google’s own location services interacted with each other. /17 Image
Google had clearly shifted its priorities over the years in how it treats location data. In the 2014-15 range, Google started collecting precise location data and then retreated in early 2019 sometime after the AP reported on their actual practices. Monopoly power. /18 Image
A lot of attention also on what is effectively a loophole that allows a company’s apps to continue to have the users’ location as long as they can get permission through at least one other owned app on the device. Google uses much-less powerful Uber as an example here... /19 Image
however, this loophole becomes a real problem when applied to dominance (Google)…. their own employees recognized their “landmark privacy policy” was created in order to allow them to mine behaviors across their products (and sync their cookie data, too, IIRC)…/20 Image
This is all relevant to emerging legislative fixes for Google and Facebook. Data protection and competition policy are being integrated recognizing how duopoly leverages data across dominant products. See Australia, Germany, UK, EU, state AG suits, FTC, and DOJ lawsuits. /21
Also, it’s a good reminder how Google, similar to Facebook, uses its unparalleled legal and comms teams to suppress scrutiny. As background, @DCNorg filed with @newsalliance (hat tip) to have these docs unsealed nearly a year ago ...and they were just unsealed this week. /22 ImageImageImageImage
I have little doubt that after Judge signaled he would unseal docs, Google proactively tried to unseal the most attention grabbing but least legal risky parts of this lawsuit to muffle press. /23
Somewhere in the evidence (there are a ton of docs) they even acknowledge how Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica mess spiked the press attention in how it was handled.
Hence my thread, this also deserves attention. /24
Here is a thread from last year when we initially filed to tie some of this together. /25
Here is the full set of docs from this week. Start with the refiled complaint at the top. Please reply here if I missed anything of significance or jump into my DMs. It takes a village. 🙏🏼 /26 azag.gov/media/interest…
ok, one more. this is literally a Google employee describing how he uses a fork of android in order to be "G-Free." IOW, please don't use our products at home if you want to avoid surveillance. /27 Image
ok, that's all for now. I recognize it's a Friday of a holiday weekend but that's the way they roll. It took me a few days to get through everything. Image
Credit to @Insider for covering ⬆️ as the docs were shared on the Friday of a holiday weekend. /end businessinsider.com/unredacted-goo…

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More from @jason_kint

Jun 15
Transcript just posted from Facebook's latest discovery hearing in Northern District of California for the Cambridge Analytica cover-up. I listened live but reading through it I am reminded of quite a few zingers by the Judge. /1
The Judge just continues to note how he, another Judge and the Special Master continue to order things and then they don't get done by Facebook. /2
It's to the point that the Court simply asks the Plaintiff attorneys (Loeser) what to order Facebook to do. Facebook and its law firm, Gibson Dunn, are in a bad place in this lawsuit.. /3
Read 6 tweets
Jun 13
John Oliver really nailed this last night including the BS talking points of Google. “OK, Google!” /1
Oliver nailed efforts by Google and Amazon to solicit creators and small businesses to try to defend them from antitrust scrutiny. This was hysterical. /2 Image
Oliver even knew about their efforts to prop up astroturf lobbying organizations to the extent that reports showed the claimed members had no idea they were even members. 🤦🏻‍♂️/3 Image
Read 8 tweets
Jun 13
OUTSTANDING NEWS to start the week. BBC, The Times, The Guardian. Reuters… The Brexit money guy has lost his libel case against award-winning journalist. The lawsuit never should have happened - it’s how wealth and power under investigation can harass and chill the press. 1/2 ImageImage
This lawsuit caused enormous stress, financial risk and was nearly all encompassing for the journalist who was also responsible for helping uncover key evidence of wrongdoing around Facebook, too. Nevertheless, it’s a relief to see he has lost and the law rightly landed. 🙏🏽 2/2 ImageImage
Also resurfacing this link to an interview between @mariaressa and @carolecadwalla who were both featured in the UNESCO report on online abuse of women journalists. rappler.com/video/hold-the…
Read 4 tweets
Jun 10
One thing websites have yet to replicate is the impact of a strong, clear, considered newspaper front page headline. /1 Image
This includes the west coast and middle of America connecting the dots on why the public needs to know importance to documenting this ‘attempted coup.” Democracy is still at risk. /2 ImageImage
And they can even add their local context for their trusting communities. If this here is still news to the dear people of the former VP’s community then they definitely need to be tuning in. /3 Image
Read 4 tweets
Jun 9
Popcorn, I mentioned to someone a 25% chance this Facebook hearing would get extraordinarily fun. Let's just say it's happening on the very first issue. I'm going to start threading it. New partner on case (because last one is being sanctioned) is pushing back. /1
first issue is app audit Zuckerberg promised world. Court, multiple times, ordered docs turned over by prior dates. And it still hasn't happened. now discussing holding FB is contempt. facebook didn't seach for term "app developer investigation" or "ADI" doing discovery. 🤦🏼‍♂️/2
Court ordering FB to complete discovery by June 15th - not so amused FB has not followed prior orders. issue #2 is privilege log with claim tens of thousands of docs were wrongly withheld. Court ordering FB produce new privilege log/docs by Jun 24 otherwise turn over all docs. /3
Read 11 tweets
Jun 9
Signs things are getting hot => monopoly CEO requests a closed-door meeting.
Reminder, Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg refused to answer questions publicly in Canada or UK even after receiving a summons from Parliaments - instead dodging thru closed door meetings. 1/3 Image
Maybe @JustinTrudeau will ask @sundarpichai about Google's astroturfing and misleading talking points about Canada's proposed new legislation seeking to deal with imbalance in bargaining power in order to help fund a free and plural press. 2/3
Expect Pichai to lean in with misleading scaremongering about national security, protecting the open web, etc etc and then propose some sort of national fund from google to be divided up (replacing and killing its Showcase deals). That's my bet. But it won't work. 3/3
Read 4 tweets

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