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Androids caught secretly reporting location data regardless of opt-out

Published: November 25, 2017
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Source: Naked Security

Android users, are you wary about being tracked via your phone’s location data?

…So worried that you turn off location services for apps in your settings?

…So cautious that you haven’t even inserted a carrier SIM card?

Well, that’s all been an exercise in futility!

A new report from Quartz has discovered that Google’s been collecting the locations of Androids (and therefore their users) – triangulating them via nearby cell towers.

Quartz tested it on devices that had no apps installed, that lacked SIM cards, and that had location services turned off.

Google has confessed. Yes, it said when contacted by Quartz, it’s been calling home with cellphone tower data since January 2017, in spite of our privacy concerns and the preferences we stipulate in settings.

A Google spokesperson told Quartz that Android devices have been sending the addresses of nearby cell towers as part of the system Google uses to manage push notifications and messages.

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