Location data is even collected from users who haven't put a SIM card in their device.
It appears that the search giant has been collecting something called Cell ID data from Android users since the beginning of 2017 without publicly disclosing the dubious practice. The gravity of the situation is further magnified since Google will have access to individuals data including their locations and movements.
Although the information is encrypted, and as Google says, not stored, this incident highlights the lack of transparency from such a large company around letting users know what exactly happens to their data.
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"We never incorporated Cell ID into our network sync system, so that data was immediately discarded", it said in a statement.
An investigation has unveiled that Android devices send cell tower location data to Google they're connected to the internet, even if you take all of those precautions.
For the past 11 months, devices running on Android software have been sending "Cell ID codes", which contain data on the addresses of nearby cellular towers, to Google, according to a report from Quartz.
That leaves the door open for Google to keep tracking users in the future, perhaps as part of a different system, even when they have Location Services switched off.
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Users who have taken all those precautions like turning off Global Positioning System, not using any apps, and when carrier SIM card is disabled or haven't inserted, the data is still transmitted. The service is is owned by Google and runs on Android phones as a default set up. Google Play Services are required to access numerous search giant's apps and the framework is pre-installed on a majority of Android smartphones targeted at consumers. A Google representative said the company included that information in order to improve the performance and overall speed of messaging.
At such juncture, we don't the exact use case of the location tracking but with this new report, it does raise a lot of questions on user privacy. Though Android users can't disable it, it looks like they won't have to worry about it for much longer.
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