Google admits it grabs data on individuals' locations from Android phones with just an internet connection. Android users can not opt out of this, not even when the phone is factory reset, according to the report. But there have been concerns about the misuse of the data.
The data collection took place even if the user had not put a SIM card into their phone, the report stated, explaining that devices could nonetheless collect cell tower data if they were connected to a Wi-Fi network-presumably due to Google knowing the location of the Wi-Fi hotspot.
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. But Google pledged to stop collecting the information by the end of November.
Google has been collecting user location data on Android smartphones even when location services were turned off, as per a new report. "Android phones will no longer send cell-tower location data to Google, at least as part of this particular service, which consumers can not disable", the company has said. But when you travel several hundred miles and then try to log in to its services such as Gmail, Google has been asking for a password each time you close the browser.
The firm admitted it has been using customers' phones to find out where masts are sited even if they have removed the Sim card or switched off location functions.
A Google spokesperson told ZDNet that modern Android phones use a network sync system that requires the use of mobile country codes and mobile network codes, to ensure messages and notifications are received quickly. In turn, the data is used to send targeted advertising information.
Mashable in its reports stresses that Cell ID and Location Services are not the same thing.
All of which would make the practice's exposure very good news for a Google competitor.
To help users view and manage their online activity across all Google apps, Google came up with a My Activity page.
"We plan to follow up with Google to seek further information". This is data that could end up in wrong, third-party hands.
The spokesperson also said that mobile country codes and mobile network codes provide "necessary network information" for message and notification delivery, but highlighted that they are separate from location services, which is why a user's information was still being gathered, despite disabling the function locally. Users can block cookies by resetting the browser in Chrome- Settings- Privacy- Clear Browsing history.