Google admits to gathering data even when Android users turn off location services
Google onfirmed that Android phones and tablets have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers and sending the encrypted data back, even when the location tracking function is disabled by the user.
According to Quartz added that this has been happening since the beginning of 2017 and the result is that Google, which is behind Android, has access to data about individuals’ locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy.
This makes search engine giant and the unit Alphabet behind Android to have access to huge amount of data that invades their privacy.
Since January, all kinds of Android phones and tablets have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers and sending the encrypted data to Google’s push notifications and messaging management system when connected to the internet. It’s a practice that customers can’t opt out of even if their phones are factory reset.
However, Google has told Quartz that they were never used or stored the data and that the company is now taking steps to end the practice after being contacted by Quartz.
According to The cell tower addresses have been included in information sent to the system Google uses to manage push notifications and messages on Android phones for the past 11 months.
Although the data sent to Google is encrypted, it could potentially be sent to a third party if the phone had been compromised with spyware or other methods of hacking.
However each phone has a unique ID number, with which the location data can be associated. According to Google an update that removes this cell tower data-collecting feature will roll out by the end of this month.