Google Tracks Android Phones Even When Location Services Are Disabled

Android phones still track you when location services are off

Android devices seen covertly sending location data to Google

In fact, even if you remove the SIM card from your device, the phone will resume location sharing as soon as it connects to the internet again.

According to a recent report by Quartz, even when you have location services turned off, Google's Android devices still track your location.

A company spokesperson said that since January, the cell tower location data gathering has been going on and that data were added in information sent to the system it uses to manage Google's push notifications and messages on Android devices.

After being inquired, the company has said it is taking every step to stop this practice and from November 2017 it will stop collecting a device's location data without the user's consent.

This is not the first time that data collection concerns have been raised as more companies seem to be hoovering up unnecessary amounts of information that breach its user's privacy.

The second is that while cell tower information will not give the pinpoint accuracy that Global Positioning System does, it can still combine location information with other nearby cell towers and calculate a location within a quarter of a mile within the user of the device.

The data could theoretically be used to target users with advertising, say who visit a particular store.

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Given that many apps do not function properly unless location services is turned on, it is not surprising that Google keeps track of your phone's location.

It appears that this has been the case with both Android smartphones and tablets.

"MCC and MNC provide necessary network information for message and notification delivery and are distinctly separate from Location Services, which provide a device's location to apps", Google said. Also, it said that the unnecessary data was merely thrown away, and wasn't used without the consent of smartphone owners.

Google's Android operating system began requesting the unique addresses of mobile phone masts, called Cell ID, during the beginning of 2017, according to one report.

This is a very bad look for Google, which admitted seven years ago that its Street View mapping-data cars were also registering details of people's Wi-Fi networks as they drove around.

Beyond mapping services, location data is used for delivering the weather, localised news results, shopping services, augmented reality features and even things as mundane as the ability to pair two different wireless devices simply by colocation.

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