News Worms
News Worms

Google admits collecting Android users' locations

Google admits collecting Android users' locations

"Regulators in South Korea summoned Google representatives this week to question them about a report that claimed the company was collecting data from Android devices even when location services were disabled", CNN reported on Friday.

Privacy campaigners have reacted with anger to the news, equating the practice to a "betrayal" of users who place their trust in the company.

Although the data sent to Google is encrypted, it could be harmful if a third-parties get their hands on it in cases of hacking.

In Korea, smartphones running on Google's Android OS, including phones produced by Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are the majority.

Further he added, "To ensure the notifications and messages are received quickly, the modern Android devices use a network sync system that requires the use of Mobile Country Codes (MCC) and Mobile Network Codes (MNC)".

Google said the data was "immediately discarded" and promised to update phones to prevent it happening in the future.

A cell-tower location sent to Google from an Android device.

"Organizations are required by law to be transparent with consumers about what they are doing with personal information", said a spokesperson for the Information Commissioner's Office.

It is not clear how cell-tower addresses, transmitted as a data string that identifies a specific cell tower, could have been used to improve message delivery.

This means that even people who actively turn off their Global Positioning System tracking service - thinking their locations will no longer be shared - were being tracked by Google nonetheless. A source familiar with the matter said the cell tower addresses were being sent to Google after a change in early 2017 to the Firebase Cloud Messaging service, which is owned by Google and runs on Android phones by default.

This is not the first time that Google has been caught collecting user data in an unexpected manner.

Before panic sets in, Mashable points out Cell ID codes are different than Global Positioning System location information.

"It seems quite intrusive for Google to be collecting such information that is only relevant to carrier networks when there are no SIM card or enabled services", Matthew Hickey, a security expert and researcher, told media in London.


editors' picks

November 25, 2017
S. Korea Move Up 2 Spots to 59th in Nov. FIFA Rankings
Despite qualifying for next year's World Cup undefeated, England have dropped three spots to a 17-year low of 15th. If Fifa went on rankings then Chile would get the nod, now ranked 10th in the latest World rankings.

November 25, 2017
Wilted Rose: new sexually-charged allegations in full bloom
Rose was subsequently suspended and then fired from CBS News (which airs CBS This Morning ) and PBS (which aired Charlie Rose ). King added that she winced through Colbert's monologue , in which the late-night host skewered Rose for his behavior .

November 25, 2017
1970s teen idol David Cassidy has died
Actor-musician Marie Osmond sent her condolences sharing images of covers from teen magazine in which he shared with her brothers. He earned his wealth from his acting roles in the 70s and his hit songs that placed him firmly in the teen idol hall of fame.

November 25, 2017
Derrick Rose leaves Cavaliers, reconsidering National Basketball Association future
The report states there is growing uncertainty that Rose will return to the team from both inside and outside the organization. Rose injured his ankle on October 20 in a game vs. the Milwaukee Bucks and was expected to miss only a few weeks.

November 25, 2017
Black Friday shopping lasts all night at in Anthem
Scrolling through social media, the early victor of Black Friday 2017 looks clear - but the truth may be more complicated. A separate survey by Salesforce also found more shoppers migrating to mobile devices to ring up purchases on Turkey Day.

November 25, 2017
CBS Reaches Deal With Dish Network
The dispute could also potentially affect the broadcasts of Saturday's Alabama-Auburn game and CBS' NFL coverage on Sunday. Besides rallying the TV remote soldiers, the site offers a glimpse into Dish and CBS's tense negotiations.

November 25, 2017
Malia Obama kisses mystery man at Harvard-Yale Game
The only thing I find offensive about about Malia Obama blowing smoke rings is that it confirms she's so much cooler than I was at 19.

November 24, 2017
In LaVar Ball, Trump Targets Find Their Dragon Slayer
Kelly wrote. "He's the hero the world needs right now". "You embarrassed your families, you embarrassed the country, and you embarrassed the president".

November 24, 2017
AT&T's Time Warner takeover: justice department aims to block $85bn deal
In particular, he has long nursed grudges against CNN, a Time Warner company, for unfavorable reporting that he calls 'fake news'. After arriving at the Justice Department , however, Delrahim began to scrutinize the $ 85 billion deal more aggressively.

November 24, 2017
Myanmar, Bangladesh sign agreement on Rohingya refugees
Around 620,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August when the Myanmar military began its crackdown against alleged militants.