Daily Trends Now
Daily Trends Now


Google secretly tracks people even after they've explicitly told it to stop

Google secretly tracks people even after they've explicitly told it to stop

The spokesperson also said that mobile country codes and mobile network codes provide "necessary network information" for message and notification delivery, but highlighted that they are separate from location services, which is why a user's information was still being gathered, despite disabling the function locally.

Google spokesperson has also sent a mail to the publication and it reads, "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 company has since admitted to the practice, claiming that it never actually used or stored the data, and pledging that it will stop recording the information by the end of November 2017.

Meanwhile, 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".

Location tracking enables Goole to determine, for example, whether an individual with an Android phone or with Google apps has visited a specific high street store.




According to Quartz, Android phones have been recording cellular addresses (or "Cell ID codes" as Google calls them) from cellular towers even if users have disabled the "Location Services" setting that accesses the Global Positioning System to pinpoint where the device has been. However, while these apps typically require the user's permission, there is now evidence that Android phones might be sending information back to Google without explicit authorization. It uses the location history to offer better recommendations from Google Assistant or traffic predictions in Maps.

Google noted that the Cell ID data sent to their servers was encrypted, but Quartz noted that a hacker could divert the data to be collected by a third party through the use of spyware or other means. A spokesman added: 'We never incorporated Cell ID into our network sync system, so that data was immediately discarded'. MCC and MNC codes are the only codes that are recorded and sent to Google.

There's a misconception that turning off location-tracking masks your location history entirely.
The tech giant promised to roll out an update that removes the cell ID collecting feature by the end of this month. Which is the right thing to do.

Nonetheless, questions are being asked about user privacy. Google's entire business is built on extensive amounts of data. As such, even if users disabled location services, there is no way to opt out of the former two. Maybe what we really need is a rethinking of how these terms of services are presented - less legalese and more plain English.

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