Google secretly collects our information data

Google: Android devices secretly transmit user locations

Apparently, Google collects the location data from Android devices, even when the GPS function is switched off. The devices send the data as soon as they are connected to the Internet.

"You shouldn't walk around with the GPS function switched on" - for many smartphone owners this has long been the top priority for protecting privacy. Because the location data, which is automatically transmitted from the mobile phone to various service providers, allows companies to follow the user at every turn. With Android devices this is apparently still possible even if the location services have been deactivated. At least that's what the US business magazine Quartz claims to have found out.

Accordingly, as soon as they are connected to the Internet, the Android devices record the identification number of cell towers in the vicinity and transmit this information to Google. You don't even have to insert a SIM card for this, dialing in via WLAN is sufficient. Because the locations of the cell phone masts are known, the position of the user could theoretically also be roughly determined, writes Quartz.

Google admits the secret data collection - and promises improvement

A Google spokesman is also quoted in the report. He confirmed that Google has been using a preinstalled Android application since the beginning of the year to collect information about cell towers. The aim of the campaign was to obtain data to improve the push notification function.

For this purpose, Google used a new version of the cloud messaging service from "Firebase", which belongs to Google. This background service is installed by default on all Android devices. As a result, users could neither give their consent to the data collection, nor object to it, or manually switch off the automatic Cell ID query.

Switching off location services on the iPhone could also be pointless

The controversial function is to be abolished by the end of November. The spokesman assured the magazine "Quartz" that Google would never have saved or used the data collected in this way.

Deactivating location services has so far been considered the best measure against Google's data collection. However, it has been shown time and again that technology leaves back doors open. Apple also came under fire in 2011 because the company collected and saved location data from iPhones - even against the will of the users. In this case, too, switching off the location services to protect the data was pointless.