Google Has Been Collecting Android User Data Without Their Knowledge

Google Has Been Collecting Android User Data Without Their Knowledge

Google Android collects location data from Android phones even when location services are disabled, an investigation by Quartz revealed about this. Large-scale tracking efforts like this might be invasive, but they're likely to become more and more common as the biggest tech companies seek out new ways to monetize their user base. Google has said that collecting location data was used to manage push notifications and messages, although the data was never stored on servers. MCC and MNC provide necessary network information for message and notification delivery and are distinctly separate from Location Services, which provide a device's location to apps. At the beginning of 2017, Android smartphones started sending their locations to the cellular towers in the area, and then they sent them back to Google.

This makes search engine giant and the unit of Alphabet behind Android to have access to huge amount of data that invades their privacy.

For data of nearby cellular towers, the location data of your device is not so exact.

The revelation is troubling, but not at all surprising. Last month, for example, Google acknowledged an issue with some of its web-connected home speaker systems that caused them to record what a user might be saying all the time, without the user have to utter the trigger or wake up words.

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However, location sharing has always been with your permission. According to a Danish research team, back in 2015, apps such as Angry Birds, Pandora, and Candy Crush had this capability. Global Positioning System tracking can pinpoint which restaurant you're in and that data can be used to figure out things like wait times the popularity of a destination.

Of course, the argument can be made that this data is not hugely accurate and will not help Google obtain any form of accurate location data about an individual, but there are still two concerns with this addition.

Online rights group Privacy International said the finding showed people had "little control" over what smartphones did in the background. Snowden also famously requested that his lawyers place their phones in the refrigerator to prevent eavesdropping. But if history is any indicator, expecting any reasonable amount of privacy on your smartphone is borderline delusional.

Typically with mobile devices, when you turn off location services, the device operating system and applications should not be able to track or see your location.

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