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Google and Android accused of collecting location data

Most of us own a smartphone. And out of that, a majority are Android users. But did you know this about Android?

An investigation has revealed that Android phones have been collecting and sending location back to Google even when location services are disabled. 

Google has reportedly confirmed that smartphones running its operating system, Android, have been collecting your location data unknowingly. The search giant has said that the Android phones have been collecting the data and sharing it with Google even when the location services are switched off.

Google says that Android phones collect the addresses of nearby cellular towers and transmit the information back to its servers, but claims that the data is ‘never used or stored’.

The section of Google’s privacy policy that covers location sharing states, “When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location. 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.”

Even if Google didn’t use the data itself, security commenters say that collecting it without permission is potentially risky. Although the data is encrypted, it is possible to send the data to third-party services if the handset is affected with spyware or other methods of hacking. 

However, it has been confirmed that the firm will stop this practice by the end of this month, reports Quartz.

“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,” the Google spokesperson to the news company. “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.”




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