This Thanksgiving week has been a busy one in the world of digital security despite of the holiday. One of the biggest pieces of news for that week was the Quartz investigation which revealed that Google is keeping track of its users’ locations by the means of their Android phones and other devices. Many of us already knew that their smart phones is tracking their locations, but we all thought that it would be enough for protection of our privacy to deny Android and apps that tracks location the access to it.
Well, we couldn’t have been more wrong about it, the Quartz investigation tells us that it doesn’t matter whether you are allowing your Android device to track your location through turning on the location services in your phone or not, you could try not to use any apps, or even take the SIM card of the carrier out of your phone, Android will still gather data and keep a record of every location it has been to in your pocket, and that record is directly sent back to Google once Android has the chance to connect to the internet.
This preposterous invasion of privacy by Google has been going on since the beginning of January of the year 2017. Each and every Android device have been using the addresses of nearby available cellular towers and collecting those addresses even if the service is not enabled to send it to Google, which confirmed that this is what happens when contacted by Quartz to clarify the matter, for the past 11 months.
According to a spokesperson from Google, this location data collected and sent to Google by Android is used as a part of the inputs of a system that Google uses to send notifications and messages to smart phones that run on its operating system, Android. The spokesperson assured the users and press that this information was never stored or otherwise used as it was not used in the Google network sync system. The spokesperson also said that Google decided to stop the practice since it has been contacted by Quartz. So, it is expected of Google as of this November to prevent Android from reading and sending location data of cellular towers near its devices as long as the owner of the device has expressed his or her unwillingness to provide his or her location by denying Android the access to his location information.