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Google Collected Android Users’ Location Data Secretly Even If Location Service Was Switched Off


11/24/2017


Google Collected Android Users’ Location Data Secretly Even If Location Service Was Switched Off
A new report has revealed the despite Android users switching off their location services on their phones, their location information had been secretly recorded by Google.
 
Oracle, the primary rival for Google was behind the expose, claimed a leading security researcher.
 
The users were not intimated but Android phones have been recording and communicating data about adjacent cell towers to Google since the beginning of the year, said a report in Quartz on Tuesday.
 
Google confirmed that this was being done and assured that it would soon stop. Google claimed that the information had never been stored but was merely used for manage messages and push notifications, after collecting the information.
 
Even without a sim card in the android smartphones, the devices were able to gather cell tower data in situations of the device being linked to a Wi-Fi network, potentially because Google was aware of the Wi-Fi hotspot location, eh report said.  
 
"It seems quite intrusive for Google to be collecting such information that is only relevant to carrier networks when there are no SIM card or enabled services," Matthew Hickey, a security expert and researcher, told media in London.
 
Contextually relevant ads are possible for advertisers to send if they are able to know the location of an android user and this is what google did – sold the locational data to advertisers. However, Google’s spokesperson told Quartz that this location-data-harvesting system was separate from that one, being focused on messaging services.
 
Google had admitted about seven years ago that the details of people using Wi-Fi networks while driving around were registered with the company by the data cars used by the company for its Street Mapping program and this latest controversy again puts the company in bad light. Android users expect that Google wouldn’t be tracking their location if they turned off their location indication services. 
 
And for a rival of Google, all of these news about the exposure is good news. That Google competitor was Oracle, according to a tweet from Ashkan Soltani, a respected security researcher and the former chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission (and advisor to the White House).
 
Oracle had been attempting for about six months to get this expose published in the media, Soltani claimed.
 
Historically, there has been a very long and frictional relationship between Oracle and Google. There has been a long-time court matter that Oracle had filed against Google with respect to later allegedly using some material patented by Oracle in the former’s Android system and this had been the long standing thorn between the two companies. The courts however ruled the case in Google’s favor and said that eth company had justifiably used the ‘codes’. A number of anti-Google pressure groups have been funded by Oracle even as the two companies are also into fierce competition in the cloud services market.
 
(Source:www.fortune.com & news.xinhuanet.com)