I recently bought a Lego Technic set for my son. It has motors controlled via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), using an Android app (Lego Technic Control+).
The Lego app informed me that it needs to have both Bluetooth and location services enabled in order to work. So, obviously Bluetooth needs to be enabled, but why Location Services?
At first I assumed that Lego were being sneaky with permission requirements, even though it seemed counter to their general company ethos. A little digging on the Internet revealed that Google started to make Location Services a pre-requisite for using BLE. It’s not just Lego’s app that required this. Any app that needs to scan for BLE devices has to require Location Services.
In order for me to use a childs toy, Google requires me to enable fine-grained location tracking, and to agree to share MAC addresses and other information that’s associated with my location.
There is no reasonable explanation for this, except that Google will use whatever lever they can in order to track as much information about you as they possibly can. If anyone can provide a less creepy explanation (that actually makes sense!), then please leave a comment.
Otherwise, it cements my opinion that Google has become a truly shitty company.