Google does an Uber on privacy, says it tracked user location even if settings are turned off

If you have a new Android phone that you bought this year, it’s very likely Google has been tracking your location even if your location settings were turned to the “off” position. This is a major privacy issue.

Google has admitted that, since the start of the year, it has been tracking user locations based on triangulation data from nearby cell towers.

The encrypted data (so it’s secure, just not private) is being sent to Google’s push notifications and messaging management system, and continues to transmit even if you do a factory reset, or even if you don’t have a SIM on the device.

Memories of Uber come flooding back. Barely a year ago, Uber revealed that its app was collection user location data even after the ride was over.

The news comes as a surprise to those who value their privacy, considering that cell tower data is typically held by carriers.

Besides, it also increases the risk of the system being compromised by hackers even though the data is supposedly encrypted and therefore secure.

The original report was published by Quartz.

Google says it will push an Android update by the end of this month that stops collecting cell tower data and removes the feature altogether from updated devices.

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