Android Is Spying On You
As reported by the US magazine Quartz, Android has been collecting the identification numbers of the mobile stations in the user’s environment since around the beginning of 2017 and keeps them on their respective devices. As soon as the respective device has an internet connection again, the corresponding data are transmitted to servers of Google. This happens even if the user has switched off the various location-based services, GPS and other location functions of his device and the respective device is not provided with a SIM card and a permanent Internet connection.
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Google has since confirmed the record of the so-called Cell-IDs and said that the data will flow into the system used by the company to handle push notifications and messaging on Android devices. The cell IDs should never have been stored or otherwise evaluated – so Google wants the data recorded, but will not continue to use it. Since January, it has been attempting to make further improvements to the speed and performance of message delivery with the information about the mobile cells in which users are staying, according to the official rationale for the move.
However, the Cell IDs were at no time incorporated into Google’s system for synchronization with the mobile network. Meanwhile, the corresponding functionality of Android has been adapted so that no cell information should be recorded. Google wants to shut down all appropriate recording measures by the end of November, the company said. According to sources, the cell data is captured by the Firebase Cloud Messaging Service, which runs on all current Android devices at the factory.
By capturing the IDs of cell phones, the Internet company can basically determine in which cell a user is located. Due to the triangulation of several mobile radio cells, the location of the user can be determined relatively accurately, depending on the density of the mobile radio network. Normally, the location is on this way to about one kilometer accurate, especially in cities where the number of mobile masts is higher, even more accurate location is possible.
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Google’s practice is particularly problematic because the Cell IDs are recorded even if the user specifically attempts to prevent the location and no SIM card is on the respective device.The location of the respective smartphone or tablet also takes place even if the location services such as the location history are switched off – completely independent of the settings made by the user.