Who Steals our Data?
On any Android smartphone, if you wish, you can completely turn off geolocation and prevent your device from tracking your location. However, even with the geolocation service turned off, all devices on Android, without exception, continue to collect user location data and send them to Google servers. This is reported by the American edition of Quartz, referring to the results of their own research.
Since early 2017, all the smartphones running Android OS collect and send to Google servers the location data of users relative to the nearest cell towers, even with the geolocation service turned off. Thus, the holding company Alphabet, which includes Google, developing the Android OS, had information about the location and movement of any user.
According to the representative of Google, the system used to send push notifications and messages among Android smartphones, along with other information, collected locations data of users relatively to the nearest cell towers. At the same time, Google emphasised that these data were not stored anywhere and were never used by the company itself. Google assures that by the end of this month, no smartphone will no longer send location data when geolocation is disabled.
We can add that all the data was transmitted in encrypted form, although potentially they could be passed on to third parties if the smartphone has spyware. Each smartphone has a unique identification number with which the location data can be connected.
And although Google claims that it has never used the data collected with this service, it allows advertisers to use geolocation data for targeted advertising, which is an obvious commercial benefit.