Android phones track your every move

Android phones track your every move

The report says that the user location data tracking has been in practice since start of this year, and the company essentially collects addresses of nearby cellular towers, even when location services are turned off on the device.

The fact that a person's location can be tracked by a third party using his or her cellphone is hardly new.

This information was revealed by Quartz, which uncovered that these data collection practices have been taking place since the beginning of 2017, whether users opt out of location tracking services or even removing their SIM card entirely.

"Even if you take all of those precautions, phones running Android software gather data about your location and send it back to Google when they're connected to the internet", Quartz reported late on Tuesday. Adding to this, the spokesperson from Google also said that the data was never stored.

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

Google's privacy policy notes it may collect location information like IP addresses, Global Positioning System and "other sensors" when you use its services. The process benefits the company as the data so collected enables advertisers target the right customers.

Google never informed their users about their actions.

Android phones still track you when location services are off
Android devices have been sending location data to Google regardless of privacy settings

"In order for Android users to receive notifications and messages quickly, an Android device needs to maintain a persistent connection to Google servers using Firebase Cloud Messaging", the source said.

The change affected all Android devices, regardless of brand or model, sending data to Google each time the device came in range of a new cellphone tower.

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

Similar attacks succeeded in the past due to the weak security of various apps and services, leaving users exposed to everything from identity theft to actual property theft. A Google representative said the company included that information in order to improve the performance and overall speed of messaging.

Data from a single mobile mast can only provide an approximate idea of a phone's location, but data from several towers can be used to triangulate a device's location to within a few streets in urban areas.

Quartz explains that this revelation fell into the bucket after regulators and lawmakers are after companies like Google for the user data they possess.

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