Google Collects Android Users’ Locations Even When Location Services are Disabled

This type of thing is all too common. But you know what scares me most? The average consumer's view of Google and Android will not change. The repercussions will be minimal. This will have little or no impact on their bottom line. And because of that, this type of thing will continue to happen at powerful companies in the Valley and across the world.

Many people realize that smartphones track their locations. But what if you actively turn off location services, haven’t used any apps, and haven’t even inserted a carrier SIM card?

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, a Quartz investigation has revealed.

Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers—even when location services are disabled—and sending that data back to Google. The result is that Google, the unit of Alphabet behind Android, has access to data about individuals’ locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy.

Solid reporting from Keith Collins at Quartz. Go read the full thing →


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