Google has been tracking Android users even with location services turned off

Google says theft tracking app Cerberus in violation of developer terms
     
     
       By Ida Torres

Even Android devices which have been reset to factory default settings and apps - with location services disabled - sent nearby cell-tower addresses to Google, Quartz adds.

Since the start of the year, Android devices with a cellular or Wi-Fi connection have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers and sending the data back to Google.

Responding to Quartz's investigation, a Google spokesperson told the publication: "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".

Google explained it had been collecting the data for 11 months as a way to improve the "speed and performance" of delivering messages. "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".

Privacy concerns emerge as Google confirms it tracks Android device locations regardless of user settings.

This activity continued by using the same mechanism that Google uses to transmit notifications and messages to users.

Users who turn off location services do so with the obvious expectation that no entity - apart, perhaps, from law enforcement agents wielding Stingrays or mobile carriers who owned cellular towers - can be able to track their movements throughout the day.

More news: Now available] Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is coming to Android this Wednesday
More news: Jaitley says rating upgrade belated recognition of reform process
More news: Tesla unveils electric big-rig truck tonight

Google in its terms of use for its services vaguely refers, "When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location".

The move by Google also does not appear to be limited to any particular type of Android phone or tablet; Google was apparently collecting cell tower data from all modern Android devices before being contacted by Quartz.

Had Google properly included Cell ID Codes as part of the Firebase core, it would have sent the data to Google's servers after each request.

As Quartz reports, "while information about a single cell tower can only offer an approximation of where a mobile device actually is, multiple towers can be used to triangulate its location to within about a quarter-mile radius, or to a more exact pinpoint in urban areas, where cell towers are closer together".

For the sake of transparency, many tech companies, including Google, give details about the data they collect, in their privacy policy, and also provide users the option to restrict access to that data afterwards. Google's entire business is built on extensive amounts of data.

'Even when we take precautionary measures that go beyond what the average user would do, it appears we can not escape being tracked.

Related:

Comments

Latest news

Hardik Patel backs Congress after agreement on Patidar quota
Three out of these four are PAAS nominees, who Hardik and his supporters have backed vociferously. The apex court called the limitation a "constitutional prohibition".

Chip Kelly expected to choose between UCLA and Florida
Now there are conflicting reports stating that Tennessee and athletic director John Currie never did, in fact, offer Chip Kelly . UCLA fired coach Jim Mora this week, after Florida did the same to Jim McElwain last month, leaving two appealing jobs open.

The Net Neutrality Rules to be Scrapped Off
The advocacy group Free Press, which supports net neutrality, said Pai's plan could change how consumers experience the internet. Pai's FCC spiked the effort to go after AT&T, even before it began rolling out a plan to undo the net neutrality rules entirely.

Trump all but endorses Roy Moore
He spoke to reporters at the White House before leaving for a Thanksgiving break at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida . One of them, Leigh Corfman, said she was 14 years old when Moore, then 32, initiated sexual contact with her.

Rahul Gandhi to become Congress leader next month
After the meeting, the CWC also condoled the death of its veteran leader and former Union Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi. The Congress on Sunday released its first list of 77 candidates for the first phase of Gujarat Assembly elections .

Comcast wants to buy 'most of' Fox, report says
The conversations are at a very early stage, and there's no guarantee that a deal would be finalized, this person said Thursday. Neither Disney nor Comcast can buy the Fox broadcast TV network because they already own ABC and NBC, respectively.

David Cassidy Hospitalized With Organ Failure
Cassidy's family was with him, and the 67-year-old hoped to receive a liver transplant, his publicist Jo-Ann Geffen said. A rep for the actor said he was "currently conscious and surrounded by family", but was previously induced in a coma.

Why OnePlus 5T was launched a few month after OnePlus 5
Storage-wise, the OnePlus 5T comes with either 64GB or 128GB built-in, while the iPhone X offers a choice of 64GB or 256GB. The OnePlus 5T features Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset mated to either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, same as that on the OnePlus 5 .

OH added 4300 jobs in October as unemployment rate fell to 5.1%
The state's total unemployment rate dropped to 3.7% in October, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced. Honolulu City and County saw its rate decrease from 2.3 percent in September to 1.8 percent last month.

Pick your Arsenal XI to face Tottenham on Saturday
Arsenal fans are not happy with Mike Dean's announcement as the referee for this Saturday's North London derby against Tottenham . Former Tottenham midfielder and manager Tim Sherwood says that his former club are "on the brink" of winning a trophy.

Lebanese cardinal arrives in Saudi Arabia to meet Hariri
A Saudi-owned TV station showed them chatting in the Lebanese leader's home in Riyadh without giving details about the meeting. Aoun said Saudi Arabia had committed a "hostile act against Lebanon", and that he had called the ambassadors of U.N.

Warner Bros. Denies Story That Gal Gadot Insist They Fire Brett Ratner
The movie has grossed more than $400 million internationally, and Ratner's company will take a healthy share of the profits. Previously, Warner Bros announced after San Diego Comic-Con that Wonder Woman 2 was to bow on December 13, 2019.

GI tag says West Bengal is where the 'rosogolla' originated
The GI tag was primarily developed with the objective of recognising the unique identity connecting different products and places. The Geographical Indications (GI) registry on Tuesday announced that the rosogolla originated in West Bengal and not in Odisha.

Multiple shootings kill 3, wound multiple students at school
The shooting occurred at Rancho Tehama Elementary, a small public school of 100 students located in northern California . Two hospitals said they were treating a seven gunshot victims, including at least three children.

Former Irish worldwide Liam Miller is battling cancer
He was signed by Alex Ferguson at United in 2004, and went on to play for Leeds , Sunderland , Queens Park Rangers and Hibernian. Fellow former United player Danny Higginbotham said: "If true very sad news about one of my former teammates Liam Miller ".

Other news