Think You Can't Be Tracked If Location Services Are Disabled? Hello, Google!

22 November, 2017, 01:28 | Author: Yolanda Murray
  • Google caught receiving location data from Android phones

Google accesses and tracks your location data even if you turn off location services.

Android devices have been sending location information about nearby cell towers to Google since the beginning of 2017, Quartz said, with Google getting pinged every time a user entered the range of a new tower.

According to the Google spokesperson, the company's system that controls its push notifications and messages is "distinctly separate from Location Services, which provide a device's location to apps".

Google spokesman assured the company "never incorporated Cell ID into the network sync system and data was immediately discarded, and Google updated it to no longer request Cell ID".

Google failed to explain why it's stopping data collection now that it has been discovered, but it did say that the practice will be stopped. But recent report gave me a shock because I always thought that turning location off doesn't give my location data to Google.

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Google says that devices will no longer collect or send this data after the end of November, Quartz reported.

Even if you take Google for face value in this situation, it is very sensitive data that it was collecting without people even being aware of what was going on.

Nothing was said about collecting location data when location services was turned off.

A cell-tower location sent to Google from an Android device. So, it doesn't need location services to know your location.

Google started collecting data from cellular towers to determine where users were located. According to Quartz, they do this whenever they are connected to a Wi-Fi network. As mentioned above, this can't get a precise location, but, the information gathered by Google does mean the location could be triangulated from different towers to ascertain a device owner's location within a quarter mile.

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Handsets running the Google-developed operating system collect information about where you have been, transmitting it back whenever they connect to the internet.

However, a source reportedly told Quartz that Google added in the collection of cell tower addresses as an improvement for its Firebase Cloud Messaging.

The findings are surprising, given that cell tower data is usually held by carrier networks and only shared with outside companies under extreme circumstances.

The fact that Google tracks location data for those who think they've protected themselves is quite concerning as far as privacy goes.

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