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Google’s Android phones collecting location data, even if it is turned off

Google’s Android phones are collecting location data, even in cases where the user has explicitly turned off the setting. A report in Quartz has shown how Android phones are gathering all data around location and sending it back to Google. The search giant has admitted to this practice, though it clarified that from end of the November 2017, this particular location data collection will stop.

According to Quartz, they “observed the data collection occur” and this was taking place via cell tower addresses. In fact if one looks at the privacy policy page for Google, under location data this collection via cell towers is mentioned.

The relevant paragraph on Google’s Privacy Policy for location data reads as follows: “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.” Since the company is also relying WiFi access points, it meant even phones without a SIM but connected to a WiFi would send back their location to Google.

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