News Worms
News Worms


Google's tracking your location even if you dont want it to

Google's tracking your location even if you dont want it to

From January, the company was requesting Cell ID data to track individual devices, even if they didn't have an active SIM in their phone or any apps installed.

Your Android phone could be tracking your location even when you when you haven't turned on location services or even have a SIM card, a report by Quartz has revealed.

Quartz conducted an investigation and found that Google tracks location data of its users via cell towers. The spokesperson has clarified that the user location data was never stored. Google would gather addresses from nearby cell towers any time a user had a Wi-Fi or cellular connection and would send that data to the system Google uses to manage push notifications and messages on Android devices.

But, according to the company, the information was never actually used to determine an Android device's location and is completely unrelated to the location services in Android that user's can enable or disable.

The reports also says that Android phones have been collecting information about addresses of nearby cellular towers since the beginning of 2017 and sending that data to Google. Google confirmed the practice after being contacted by Quartz. Google is ending the practice by the end of this month i.e. November 2017. As a result, Google and its parent company - Alphabet - might be peeking into your location information exploiting users fundamental right privacy.

"It is really a mystery as to why this is not optional", said Matthew Hickey of London-based security form Hacker House. What's more, a Google spokesperson also told Mashable that the Cell ID is encrypted is discarded immediately after receiving it. In many cases, consumers are happy to hand over that data in trade for the convenience new technologies provide.

Google in its terms of use for its services vaguely refers, "When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location". What if Google itself is tracking you? Personal data such as political views to their purchase histories to their locations have done wonders for these companies to target their marketing campaigns.

"People should be 100% confident that if they opt out of services or disable connectivity from their devices they will be free from having their data, location or movements monitored and tracked", chief executive Renate Samson said. That data is used to ensure the phone stays properly connected to Google's Firebase Cloud Messaging system, which handles the delivery of messages and notifications to the smartphone.

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