Google admits it tracks us even with location services turned off

Google admits it tracks us even with location services turned off

Starting from early 2017, Android phones have been gathering addresses of nearby cellular towers and sending this data back to Google, Quartz reports. Since January, all different kinds of Android phones and tablets have been collecting addresses of nearby cell towers and sending all the data encrypted to Google's push notifications and messaging management system. The company claims it did not put this information into the sync system though, which means it was allegedly discarded immediately.

The data was gathered as part of an effort to find out how often a phone should "ping" a cell tower to stay connected to Google's servers, a process Google calls "heartbeat analysis", Google says.

It's unclear if Google would have moved towards discontinuing this unhanded location data collection if Quartz had not found it out and contacted them.

An update that removes this cell tower data-collecting feature will roll out by the end of this month, according to Google.

This discovery no doubt is very alarming and surprising because cell tower data is generally held by carrier networks and only shared with outside companies under certain strict conditions.

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.

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The information was never stored, and the practice will end by the end of November, she wrote.

This is bad. Google actively receives location data from Android users even when location services have been switched off. The company has an app as well as a website for accessing the Google Calendar.

The term "location services" oftentimes refers to exact Global Positioning System data for app usage, such as Google Maps finding your best commute route, or Uber figuring out exactly where you're standing to let drivers know your pickup point.

Everyone one can clearly see that app's stealthy behavior is specifically created to trick phone thieves, however, Google wears some kind of special goggles to observe such cases.

When it comes to your location data, sometimes you just want to keep things to yourself and not send every single data point regarding your whereabouts to the cloud.

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

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