Android Phones Shared Location Data With Google Even With GPS Turned Off

According to reports, Google is guilty of spying on its users. It seems that since the start of 2017, Google has been receiving location data of its Android users even when they had their location services turned off.

Location Services

The term “location services” often refers to the use of GPS navigation System in order to locate you or to figure out your exact pick up point.

The report was compiled by Quartz, which observed location data being sent to Google by factory reset Android devices as soon as they came within the vicinity of a cell tower. This happened even when the phones didn’t have a SIM card installed.

According to a source related to the matter, data from cell towers is used to help improvise their Firebase Cloud Messaging.

A Google spokesperson claimed the said operations had been in effect for 11 months now (going back to the start of 2017), sending the company relevant system info so it could push notifications and messages on Android phones. The information was never used or stored, according to them.

Android devices which include Android tablets and cell phones send encrypted data to Google notifying them of your location, given that you are connected to the internet.

Can’t Opt Out

It seems that the company does not give its users the liberty to opt out of this option, not even when they put their phone to factory reset.

Google is capable of locating you, even when you have your location services disabled, and even when you’re not connected to cell towers. All Android devices connected to the internet via Wi Fi are liable of transmitting user’s location to Google.

The Bright Side

In light of Google’s recent statement, Android users won’t have to worry about their location data being used without their will for long.

“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. 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.” said the Google spokesperson.

It has been reported that Google will launch an update by the end of this month, discarding the feature that collects data from cell towers.


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  • Tech Boy

    I knew this from beginning because whenever I travel and land at a new destination, my phone automatically changes timezone while in iPhone I need to manually update or activate location services.