Android devices secretly sending location data to Google: Report

By : |November 22, 2017 0

An investigation by Quartz has revealed that Android phones have been secretly collecting and sending location data to Google even when the location service is disabled. Quartz found that all the device needs to do is grab a user’s location in cellular or Wi-Fi connection.

Google, on its part said that it has been collecting this data from the beginning of 2017 and was used for managing push notifications or alerts. According to Google, Cell ID codes help the cell tower to improve speed and performance of message delivery on Android phones. Quartz estimates that the location of basically all modern Android devices was collected, even phones coming off factory reset and the ones without SIM card. Once there was a cellular or Wi-Fi connection, a package of data from the cell tower was sent to Google.

Quartz investigation report reveals that Android phones have been secretly sending location data to GoogleQuartz

A Google spokesperson said to Quartz, “In January of this year, we began looking into using Cell ID codes as an additional signal to further improve the speed and performance of message delivery. However, we never incorporated Cell ID into our network sync system, so that data was immediately discarded, and we updated it to no longer request Cell ID.”


The company also said that the cell tower data is generally encrypted. Still collecting data when the user has explicitly toggled it off is not a nice move by Google. Google is now working to end the practice by the end of November after being contacted by Quartz.

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