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Google Busted Tracking All Android Phones Since January, Promises To Stop

An exclusive investigation published yesterday by Quartz revealed that Android phones have been tracking users using cell towers since the beginning of 2017, “even when location services are disabled,” sending the information back to Google.

This goes “far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy,” says Quartz.

Even a brand new Android OS phone with no sim card or service plan will report tracking data once the device is connected to a WiFi network or activated.

Even devices that had been reset to factory default settings and apps, with location services disabled, were observed by Quartz sending nearby cell-tower addresses to Google. Devices with a cellular data or WiFi connection appear to send the data to Google each time they come within range of a new cell tower. When Android devices are connected to a WiFi network, they will send the tower addresses to Google even if they don’t have SIM cards installed. –Quartz

In response, Google is ending the data collection by the end of November and offered the following explanation:

“To ensure messages and notifications are received quickly, modern Android phones use a network sync system that requires the use of Mobile Country Codes (MCC) and Mobile Network Codes (MNC). In January of this year, we began looking into using Cell ID codes as an additional signal to further improve the speed and performance of message delivery.”

In addition, what Google didn’t touch on is the fact that they sell ad space to advertisers who want to target customers based on geographic location – through the company’s online AdWorks platform. Without cell-tower data, Google can still use data collected via GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

Is anyone surprised?

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5 comments

  1. sarcrilege

    privacy is overrated. freedom is relative. convenience wins.
    just follow the blue line to a slaughterhouse near you.

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  2. TJWP

    Mind your turnips Pleb

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  3. alk

    omg, I am shocked. I don’t believe it. google would never do such a thing & if they did, they didn’t mean to. This is fake news! You are peddling fiction here.
    I heard the streetview cars not only take nice pics, they scoop up any stray wifi, ip addresses, pw’s, cell transmissions… alphagoog = big bro if you didn’t already know

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  4. Robert Smith

    What’s the big deal. Apple has been tracking, monitoring and storing everything you do on your iphone for years.

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    • 0 Deem this to be "Fake News"

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