Science

Google to end covert tracking of Android devices

Google to end covert tracking of Android devices

For starters, when the proposed location-based service was scrapped, Google could have turned the collection off then and there. Google has been using this information without the knowledge of smartphone users for its ad targeting purposes.

"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 said in a statement to The Sun.

Google says that an update that removes this cell tower data-collecting will be rolled out by the end of this month.

The reports also says that Android phones have been collecting information about addresses of nearby cellular towers since the beginning of 2017 and sending that data to Google.

Jubeir Calls for Firm Stand against Iranian Interventions in Arab Countries
A diplomatic source said Riyadh was seeking to adopt a condemnation of "Iran and Arab militias linked to this country". Hezbollah is a partner to Lebanon's coalition government.

Quartz said a Google spokesperson confirmed the practice when confronted with the findings. Google has now assured that they will put an end to this practice by the end of November this year.

Last year, a range of budget Android smartphones sold in the USA were found to be secretly sending personal data to a third party company based in China, including information about users' locations, TechCrunch noted. It's unclear exactly how tracking the addresses of cell towers could improve the delivery of messages. People have all kinds of reasons for turning off location services, and the system that was in place essentially disregarded these preferences and recorded the data regardless. When the service is turned off, apps are unable to track a user's location.

Android smartphones and tablets collect the addresses of cellular towers in the vicinity of the device, sending the information back to Google. The more pings, the greater the battery drain, so the data collected about the country and mobile networks is used to work out the the minimum number of pings required to stay connected without draining the battery - so called heartbeat analysis.

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. It's an age-old debate, and while most web surfers on the world's leading mobile and desktop operating systems can live with the occasional online behavior analysis, cookie collecting and location tracking, you have to draw the line somewhere. Or for that matter, even while you are reading news while on the go, Google requires you to share your location in order to provide you news most relevant to your locality.


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