Sci-tech

Google has Been Tracking Android Device Location Even With Location Services Disabled

Google has Been Tracking Android Device Location Even With Location Services Disabled

As it turns out though, Android phones are sending your location back to Google anyway, according to an investigation from Quartz. As the Android device moves from one tower to the next, it pings the address and sends that information back to Google.

There are any number of reasons a person would not want to share their location data, and Google's practice of collecting cell tower data without explicit permission could potentially put users at risk of harm. So, for example, if I'm on Verizon and in the US, my Android phone would send this data back to Google. We use various technologies to determine location, including IP address, GPS, and other sensors that may, for example, provide Google with information on nearby devices, Wi-Fi access points and cell towers. Devices with a cellular data or WiFi connection appear to send the data to Google each time they come within range of a new cell tower.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement that all modern Android phones use a network sync system that requires mobile country codes and mobile network codes, so tower info called "Cell ID" codes were considered an "additional signal to further improve the speed and performance of message delivery".

Google says that an update that removes this cell tower data-collecting will be rolled out by the end of this month. While the data collected is encrypted, it is possible for that information to be shared with third-parties or intercepted by a malicious actor. Google demands that the app must present a unique icon and persistent notification so the user can clearly identify it. Google has also asked app owners to make these changes in the app in 7 days, otherwise, it will be removed from Play Store. Check out Google's Privacy Checkup page to edit what data you're sharing with the public, your friends, or even advertisers. However, the real concern is that Google chose to transmit location info despite your privacy settings, using a service (the network sync system) you couldn't turn off. Specifically, Google is collecting addresses from nearby cellular towers.

Oil markets cautious as OPEC cuts are met by rising USA output
Global demand is forecast to be 30 percent higher by 2040, but still half as much as it would be without efficiency improvements. Scientists just this week said that emissions of the heat-trapping gas rose this year after three years of not growing.


As for what's being collected, the data is not as accurate as it could be.

Had Google properly included Cell ID Codes as part of the Firebase core, it would have sent the data to Google's servers after each request.

Cell tower locations are very important, although not a very precise indicator of where you might be.

A spokesperson for Google said the data was never stored and promised to end the practice.


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