Google has been tracking your smartphone's location ALL YEAR

Android phones still track you when location services are off

"This tracking means that even senior officials who use Android devices are being tracked, according to the Kingdom's cybercrime laws this can be prosecuted as an illegal breach of devices", Dr al-Morjan told Al Arabiya English.

Google hashas confirmed it can track the location of Android users via the addresses of local mobile phone masts, even when location services were turned off and the sim cards removed to protect privacy.

The report reveals that the company is mysteriously collecting location data since early 2017 after a change to the Firebase Cloud Messaging service. 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. 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. Google has also updated its systems to ensure that cell ID information is no longer sent to its servers as part of the heartbeat feature.

A Google spokesperson is quoted to have told Quartz that the company has been collecting cell tower addresses to improve delivery of push notifications and messages on Android devices for roughly 11 months. The report mentions that Android software gathers data about your location and sends it back to Google once its connected to the internet.

Users who have taken all those precautions like turning off Global Positioning System, not using any apps, and when carrier SIM card is disabled or haven't inserted, the data is still transmitted.

It appears that this has been the case with both Android smartphones and tablets.

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Cell ID data only provides an approximate location of a mobile device, not a precise Global Positioning System location. But outlets point out the description leaves room for transparency in regards to exactly what kind of data it's collecting.

However, it does not specify if this is applicable when a user actively switches off location services.

According to Google's terms of service: "When you use When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location".

As long as there is a mobile data or Wi-Fi connection, devices will send Google their location when they are in range of a new cellular tower.

This makes search engine giant and the unit of Alphabet behind Android to have access to huge amount of data that invades their privacy.

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