As per the recent investigations by Quartz, Android phones are collecting users’ location and information, even if the locations services are disabled. Quartz had further reported that Google has been able to access users’ data about their locations due to Android phones collecting addresses of cell towers. That data is then sent back to Google, which may be an invasion of privacy.
But Google has also confirmed to Quartz, that this practice is ending by the end of this month, in all probability. To this Quartz reported that “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. However, we never incorporated Cell ID into our network sync system, so that data was immediately discarded, and we updated it to no longer request Cell ID”.
As per Keith Collins, the author of Quartz story, the findings breach a “reasonable consumer expectation of privacy”. Also, using multiple cell towers can determine a user’s location from a quarter-mile radius to a more exact spot, depending on how close the cell towers are together.
Now, these findings might be an issue for those who don’t want to be tracked and have taken precautions to make sure their location was secret. Even then, Google can collect location data even if a SIM card isn’t installed on the phone, and there is no known way to opt out of this collection.
The concern has grown more with the recent Android security problems, i.e. a recent Nokia report which detected that the devices running Android software were most likely to be hacked out of all operating systems. Although the location data was encrypted, it could have opened an unexpected hole in an already vulnerable system.
Although Google is preparing to end the program, the findings may create a distrust between Google’s Android and some users. So, to conclude, some business users, especially the ones trying to keep their location and data protected, may not feel as safe using the operating system.