Google tracks location even if setting disabled

  • Google tracks location even if setting disabled

Google tracks location even if setting disabled

Android smartphone users beware, as Google is secretly gathering your location data even when you have actively disable location services on the device, reveals an investigation conducted by Quartz.

Privacy campaigners have reacted with anger to the news, equating the practice to a "betrayal" of users who place their trust in the company.

Google's privacy policy notes it may collect location information like IP addresses, Global Positioning System and "other sensors" when you use its services.

Google has been tracking customers' movements via their mobile phones even when they have disabled functions allowing this. "However, we never incorporated Cell ID into our network sync system, so that data was immediately discarded, and we updated it to no longer request Cell ID". It's particularly easier to pinpoint a device's location in urban centers where cell towers are more concentrated.

"Organizations are required by law to be transparent with consumers about what they are doing with personal information", said a spokesperson for the Information Commissioner's Office.

Report claimed, this practice was not used to enhance the ad-serving system, but rather to improve what Google calls its "heartbeat system", which ensures that the Android Phones remain connected and users get their messages properly and quickly. That data is then sent back to Google, which may be an invasion of privacy, the report says.

Google said the data was collected to improve notifications and message delivery, and was not stored on Google servers.

This is not the first time that Google has been caught collecting user data in an unexpected manner.

The news follows a report from Quartz which claimed Google's Android phones had been collecting location data even when location services were disabled. We use various technologies to determine location, including IP address, GPS, and other sensors that may, for example, provide Google with information on nearby devices, Wi-Fi access points and cell towers.

Basically, Google's explanation suggests the location tracking was done in order to enhance messaging services. "It seems quite intrusive for Google to be collecting such information that is only relevant to carrier networks when there are no SIM card or enabled services".