Google Location-Tracking Controversy Splits Publications, Spying Or Not Spying?

23 November, 2017, 00:30 | Author: Lorena Waters
  • This Android power feature gave Google a privacy headache

Google did not reveal how well secured the connections that ferried the data were, so it is to be assumed that anybody who wanted to and knew how to could have stolen the location data and used it as is to determine, cell towers in the area permitting, a user's rough whereabouts.

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. This is apparently what Google has been doing with its Android OS.

In a new report from Quartz, Google has been found to tracking the addresses of cellular towers near you and collecting the data, even if you've turned location sharing off.

As per a recent report by Quartz, the "switch" to turn off the location services seems to fail miserably, at least in Android smartphones.

"In January this year, we began looking into using Cell ID codes as an additional signal to further improve the speed and performance of message delivery", a Google spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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Google said that the Cell ID codes were never stored in its network sync system, "so that data was immediately discarded".

Tech companies such as Google and Facebook provide services in exchange for your data.

There is no hack so far for Android users to prevent location data from being sent to ad targeting giant Google. As per the report from Quartz, the data collected by Google is encrypted but it can easily be manipulated if exposed to any third party malware, which puts Android users at great risk. This "issue" potentially affects all devices with Google services, with tablets and phones alike sending the same data to Google. The more pings, the greater the battery drain, so the data collected about the country and mobile networks is used to work out the the minimum number of pings required to stay connected without draining the battery - so called heartbeat analysis. 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. The information is then sent back to Google allowing the company to track user's movements.

Similar attacks succeeded in the past due to the weak security of various apps and services, leaving users exposed to everything from identity theft to actual property theft. Services GPS-navigation provide information about the location of the object in several different ways.

While the company gives users a chance to opt out of tracking via Location Services, it does not give user's the same privilege this alternative method of collection.

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