Technology Other News 22 Nov 2017 Google's tracki ...

Google's tracking your location even if you dont want it to: report

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Nov 22, 2017, 8:39 pm IST
Updated Nov 22, 2017, 8:39 pm IST
The data is being collected since early 2017 after a change to the Firebase Cloud Messaging service.
the data collected by Google is encrypted but it can easily be manipulated if exposed to any third party malware, which puts Android users at great risk.
 the data collected by Google is encrypted but it can easily be manipulated if exposed to any third party malware, which puts Android users at great risk.

Nokia recently reported that Android is the most vulnerable OS in the world. It found that 68 percent of all malware affected devices were Androids. In fact Android has long been the primary target of hackers, which is understandable since Android is the most popular and an open source platform. But that is as far as hackers are concerned. What if Google itself is tracking you?

Now the latest report from Quartz reveals that Google is collecting location information from Android smartphones even if you keep the services switched off on your device. The data is being collected since early 2017 after a change to the Firebase Cloud Messaging service. It's the service which is used by Google to optimize message delivery at times of low-signal strength.

 

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.

A Google spokesperson has actually confirmed this activity; however, the company also claims that it is not using any of the data. As per the report from Quartz, the data collected by Google is encrypted but it can easily be manipulated if exposed to any third party malware, which puts Android users at great risk.

The report further reveals that any modern Android device would collect addresses of nearby cellular towers and send it to Google even when the location services were turned off. As a result, Google might be peeking into your location information exploiting users fundamental right privacy. As of now, we are not sure about this and Google has reportedly confirmed to Quartz that starting November 2017, it will put end to this activity. Adding to this, the spokesperson from Google also said that the data was never stored.

Quoting the Google spokesperson, he said - “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. “However, we never incorporated Cell ID into our network sync system, so that data was immediately discarded, and we updated it to no longer request Cell ID.”

Whatever the case may be, this proves yet again that Android is not the safest of operating systems out there. And given the majority of World’s population thrives on Android devices; it is even more bizarre for the search engine giant.

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