Google promises to stop tracking Android users

Google promises to stop tracking Android users

In a new report from Quartz, Google has been found to tracking the addresses of cellular towers near you and collecting the data, even if you've turned location sharing off. In fact if one looks at the privacy policy page for Google, under location data this collection via cell towers is mentioned. Google has been using this information without the knowledge of smartphone users for its ad targeting purposes.

"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)", a Google spokeswoman said. Even users on Wi-Fi only devices were tracked when using the internet in any capacity, and users on cell phones could be tracked through cell tower triangulation, even when their phones had no SIM cards in them and weren't connected to any networks. The company said that it will take steps to stop the data collection, and it should be stopped on all Android devices by the end of November.

"It is really a mystery as to why this is not optional", Matthew Hickey, a security expert and researcher at Hacker House, a security firm based in London, said.

Google also states that this is "distinctly separate from Location Services, which provide a device's location to apps" which is why, apparently, this is okay.

According to Quartz's findings, the location tracking did not appear limited to particular Android phones or tablets.

Lebanon's Hariri holds talks with Egypt President Sisi in Cairo
Hariri arrived in a private jet from Cyprus on Tuesday night, after meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades. Lebanese President Michel Aoun has refused to accept the resignation until Hariri returns to present it in person.

Quartz explains that this location data is of paramount importance to regulators and lawmakers, who can understand the political views of such users by analysing their purchase histories with their locations and create targeted marketing campaigns accordingly.

The US technology company gathers this location information even when the Android hardware does not have a SIM card inserted, a sensational investigation by Quartz has revealed.

While Google says it doesn't use the location data it collects using this service, its does allow advertisers to target consumers using location data, an approach that has obvious commercial value.

Google started collecting data from cellular towers to determine where users were located.

Although the information is encrypted, and as Google says, not stored, this incident highlights the lack of transparency from such a large company around letting users know what exactly happens to their data. The first is pretty obvious, and that is that when location services are switched off, they should actually be off.

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