Google may track your location even if you disable Location tracking
The Location feature that Google built-into the Android operating system and some of its applications power location-based services such as Google Maps and provide Google with information about a customer's whereabouts.
The Location feature is not turned on by default but Google apps, services, and third-party apps may prompt the user to enable it to provide more accurate information. A recent report on AP News suggests that Google has other means to get its hands on valuable location data even on devices where Location is not turned on.
Google, according to the report, uses various systems to get Location-based data. Location is just one of them and even if Location is not turned on at all or turned off when it is not used, Google may get location-based data through Web and App Activity, or device-level location services.
The report provides some examples: if you open Google Maps, a snapshot of the location is saved automatically. Automatic weather updates, and even searches that are not related to specific locations may have "precise latitude and longitude" information saved to the linked Google Account.
We mentioned privacy-related issues caused by Google's Location History feature before. In January 2018 it became known that the Location Service was saving a lot of data not related to the location such as the type of movement, Mac addresses, or battery charge levels.
In 2013, we suggested that users use the Location History web page on Google's site to display the Location History and to turn the feature off.
The main issue that comes out of the new revelation is that most Android users are probably unaware that location information may be saved to their account if they use Google apps or services on the device but have location turned off.
Google gives customers access to location markers on the Activity Controls management page. There you may delete individual data sets or all data.
AP tested Google's location tracking on an Android device that had location turned off. The device would still push location-based data to the Google account even with Location turned off.
We confirmed the findings in a quick test using several Android devices running recent versions of the Android operating system.
How to disable Location tracking
There is a way to disable the saving of data. Users need to point their browsers to Google's Activity Controls web page.
There they may turn off Web & App Activity, and Location History. Note that disabling the features may result in functionality loss; some Google services may provide less-personalized results when you pause the two features.
Tip: You can pause all sorts of activity recorders on the site including the YouTube Watch and Search History as well. Check out our overview of Google's Activity Controls here.
Pausing Web & App Activity, and Location History seems to be the only way that prevents Google from recording location-based information.
Please note that you need to do this for any account that you use on your mobile devices.
Local data is quite valuable to Google's advertising efforts and one of the main reasons why the company pushes location-tracking on its devices and in its services.
Now You: Is location-based tracking turned on or off on your devices?
Google changed the description on its website. The new description makes it clearer that other services may also collect location data.
This setting does not affect other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device. Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps. When you turn off Location History for your Google Account, it's off for all devices associated with that Google Account.
I use Iron 64-bit. It doesn’t have Google Tracking in it.
This article has nothing to do with Iron or desktops. It’s about Google Location Services on Android.
When you’re too dumb and rushy to troll in the comments that you don’t even read the article.
Does this really surprise anyone?
Correct me if I am wrong, there is a way to get your location also from the network cell masts. For instance, there are macro apps that can turn on/off certain features depending whether you are e.g. at home, at work, and so on. our location is determined not by geolocation but by those network cell masts that have unique location numbers and that your Android picks up as you move from one to the next.
You can: imgur.com/NsGISFz
But I think the network based localisation is a lot worse in terms of privacy. The information pulled from any device (apparently it can use cell towers, WLAN (even password protected ones), bluetooth devices, and who knows what elese) needs to be sent to Google (or your geo location provider (not the same as map provider)) to be resolved. Kind of like how DNS works. On the other hand GPS antena based location does not even require an internet connected device. As long as you have the map data on your phone, you’re good to go.
I honestly am not suprised at all. I think even turning that setting off does nothing more than just merely hiding that info away from user. They will still track you, just not show it to you.
“Is location-based tracking turned on or off on your devices?”
Off. I also firewall off almost everything, so that if someone *ahem*google*ahem* engages in unauthorized data collection, it can’t send that data anywhere.
John, what firewall do you use ?
I have AFWall+ but it just authorize or block LAN / Wifi / Mobile data (or I don’t know how to use it). Tried Netguard but it was quite a pain to reach a fine-tuned setting, like Little Snitch on Mac.
Your insights are welcome. Thanks.
PS: for the article, it doesn’t surprise me either.
@DH: I also found Netguard a pain to use, so I ditched it.
I use AFWall+.
“it just authorize or block LAN / Wifi / Mobile data”
There’s also a VPN data one. I’m not sure what you mean by “just”… those four cover everything.
AFWall+ is just a frontend to configure the Linux firewall that exists in every Android device, and if you know how to speak Iptables and have the need for more sophisticated rules, you can add anything. In practice, though, what the UI allows you to configure is all you’re likely to need.
I turn it off because I am paranoid (and never use gps anyway) but I am fully aware they can triangulate me through telephone towers and IP ranges and probably other things they don’t tell the general public about.
Location-based tracking always turned off.
No surprise when it comes to Google tracking. I managed to find back this video I discovered some time ago at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0G6mUyIgyg
“Google is tracking you. Even when you’re in Airplane Mode. It knows when you get out the car. When you’re walking. We now have proof. Google has been secretly tracking people against their wishes. The company has been collecting Android usersâ€™ location data, even when theyâ€™ve actively disabled location services. Itâ€™s an extremely concerning discovery, which means that Google can pinpoint exactly where you are even when you go out of your way to hide this information.”
To be frank, I don’t move around with a smartphone in my pocket, most of the time I bring along only an old mobile for whatever emergency. PC at home I use considerably but once I move outdoors it’s not to keep hanging on a phone, smart or not.
Airplane mode has nothing to do with location services or turning off GPS.
Most phones have a motion chip, compass and step counter which tells the device whether you’re walking or running or driving and in which direction.
You are just as misinformed and make your own assumptions like that NBC reporter from a year ago with this sensationalist piece hit the airwaves.
Neither informed nor misinformed, makapav, only quoting a video’s description I think is pertinent given the article here. As I wrote it I don’t use smartphones, nevertheless Google tracking our location even if we disable location tracking is information. If you’ve seen the above mentioned video you will have noticed that aeroplane mode concerned only one of the two smartphones, the other having had location services totally disabled.
Smartphones IMO bring nothing essential and take a lot, of our privacy, of our addiction. But that’s another debate.
> Smartphones IMO bring nothing essential
Ask the billion people that have come online for the first time since and the next billion that will over the next two years for their perspective – just sit down when you’re ready to hear their answers ;)
@makapav, “Ask the billion people that have come online for the first time since and the next billion that will over the next two years for their perspective.”
That’s what business is all about : getting people to consider what may not be essential as essential. Essential? For what? Life, comfort? Water and food are essential for life, to a lower degree a roof. Communication IMO is a comfort and if essential then sufficiently provided by a simple audio phone. The extras, as developed with modern technology, contribute far more to loss of privacy than to a true plus-value. But that’s only my view excessively summarized when it is a wide topic requiring in-depth debates.
Concerning privacy, I have in mind an article which seems to me interesting; it evokes and develops these guidelines:
“The basic issue is this: privacy is not a “thing,” it’s a trade-off.”
“If that’s the case [the idea that privacy is a trade-off], there should be two key concepts for any competent approach to privacy: transparency and user control.”
For whom may be interested :
‘We’re Bad At Regulating Privacy, Because We Don’t Understand Privacy | Techdirt’
available at https://preview.tinyurl.com/ydgkgwbv
People are pretty terrible as figuring out what is essential and what is not. For probably 99% of the population, smartphones truly cannot be considered “essential” no matter how much they may love them.
There is a cure for all the paranoia over tracking and data harvesting.
Disconnect from the Internet, wrap yourself in tin foil and become a hermit.
Come on aluminum coated TROLLS. Hit me with your best shot.
pHROZEN gHOST, I’ve read smarter comments from you than this one, sorry to say so.
What a load of BS coming from YOU ! Usually i think You sound sane, but this is against Yourself….. Time for You to leave the internet….or ?
Yeah, You usually write very interesting comments, but this is almost opposite of what You usually write…..
@stefann – it was not clear to me if you are talking about Tom’s comments, or pHrozen’s?
I happen to genuinely agree (in case you were talking to Tom), with what Tom has said. I wear my tinfoil hat with no shame. I only moved from a basic phone to a smartphone in the last month (true!!), and even then, use is sparingly, and also have a sleeve to put it in that cell towers can’t “see through”. Sure, it won’t ring either, but what is there that is so important that it can’t wait.
The benefits are outweighed by the negative, IMO, and I am so happy that I am not one of those many people that have lost social interactions, and have their head completely buried in their phones.
I love tech, but some of these things have got out of control, and only “we” if we wish to, can reign it in and do what’s best for us. I’m no hermit….in fact, I consider myself very sociable, and all the more so for being PRESENT IN THE MOMENT when people want to talk to me and have my undivided attention.
Smartphones often take attention away, such that can be very frustrating for the other person. When you add all the privacy violations, I feel I’d like to hold these things at arms length, and not get swallowed up by the ‘machine’.
@Sophie, I don’t think stefan had me in mind because he/she mentioned someone “usually” writing interesting comments when mine are “always” interesting. Lol, lol and lol once again!
@stefan, I’m not at all susceptible, if your comment was addressed to me then I forgive you!
“all the paranoia over tracking and data harvesting.”
There is little paranoia. Paranoia is a delusional fear of a nonexistent threat. If the threat is real, then fear of it isn’t paranoia. Tracking and data harvesting are real.
“Disconnect from the Internet, wrap yourself in tin foil and become a hermit.”
Or perhaps don’t do that and instead engage in an intelligent response to and defense from the valid threats, and work toward changing the current situation into one that is more respectful of human rights.
Google, just another american sect collecting personal data on every family in the World like Mormons etc do. Not new.
Yeah. Because Mormons have a proven track record of using the birth register data they collect against their owners. And of course Mormons use modern technology a lot. I wish people would stop drawing false comparisons. It’s funny, but meaningless.
Smartphones are the worst snooping devices ever invented. It’s also very difficult to resist using one, and, once you’ve given in, to resist taking advantage of the benefits data sharing gives you.
Google is one of the culminations of the Technocracy movement born in 1930. This dangerous imperialist movement is a sect and still alive: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technocracy_movement
No. This is plain wrong. Have you even read the article you’re linking to ? Do it. it disproves your fantasies.
The article is not well documented in english US. Read the French article you’ll understand better.
Are you a kind of Mormon yourself?
Probably, as Mister Claivaux is well known on his earlier writings to spread fables each time it concern U.S enterprises.
@Anonymous: Clairvaux simply can’t handle any comments that go against the standard US propaganda, esp. the anti-Russia hysteria, which he/she will defend tooth and nail and regurgitate like a loyal parrot, thereby trying to ridiculise the other.
@klaas, perhaps such a profiling of Clairvaux is insufficiently backed up by facts and exaggeratedly summarized. I think personally his personality is more complex. Also he comments with a constant pseudonym (hoping it’s the only one). I admit — and had already pointed that out — that, be it his words as those of anyone else, harsh comments may be felt as inappropriate and irritating. But, after all he’s not the only one and above all considering each other as we are, accepting disagreements (in the limits of the acceptable of course) is part of the story. Fundamentally I don’t think Clairvaux has bad intentions, he may be an untimely shooter once in a while but he has his ideas and often comments them interestingly. That’s how I see it.
@Tom: Clairvaux’s personality is of no interest to me, but what he/she has expressed here is not very complex, unless you find the straightforward “US+lackeys = good, rest = bad” comment complex.
He/she may make sensible/interesting comments, which is all that counts on this forum at the end of the day. Disagreements are a healthy part of a discussion, but not when it degenerates into compulsive ad hominem attacks, that is not an acceptable way of dealing with disagreements. Clairvaux resorts to that regularly.
I realise that I also engage in ad hominem attacks, but do so in reaction to Clairvaux who does not seem to understand that his/her initiation of that process is not acceptable. That’s how I see it.
Oh, yes. I handle them very well, thank you. And that’s what annoys you to no end. Sectarian airheads like you would like to have the floor to yourselves when spouting nonsense as you do. You won’t. Tough luck.
By the way, try and do your homework if you really must hector people on politics. There’s no such thing as “standard US propaganda”, especially regarding the so-called “anti-Russian hysteria”. The president of the United States is on your side as far as “anti-Russian hysteria” is concerned. You might at least say thank you once in a while.
@Clairvaux: there mere fact that you try to argue that you “can take those comments”, and that you deny the fact that there is standard US propaganda, confirms my earlier statement.
I have nothing to thank Trump about as he has not given me anything, nor has he given anything to the world so far, other than more death & destruction, as well as more surveillance of citizens, incl. signing up the likes of Google as his mercenary censors and surveillance officers which this insane tracking activity is all about in the end.
First of all, my apologies to most, because this will be long, and totally unrelated to Google. However, I’m sick and tired of a few bad apples trying to bully me into silence on this blog. I think I’m entitled to a full retort now, since my previous attempts did not work.
You’re a liar.
By the way, this is not an ad hominem argument. Maybe you should try to learn a thing or two before trolling. Telling people things they don’t like is not an ad hominem.
An ad hominem would be me telling you, hypothetically, that you’re wrong to say Google is an evil corporation because you have ginger hair. That’s an ad hominem.
You have just accused me of an ad hominem attack. This is slander, and it’s a lie. First of all, because there’s no such thing as an ad hominem attack. The right use of the phrase is an ad hominem argument. Attacking someone in words is necessarily ad hominem. Speaking of an ad hominem attack is the same as speaking of an attacking attack.
So, accusing me of an ad hominem attack is just a way for you to complain of being “attacked”. And complaining of being attacked is just complaining because someone has just criticised what you wrote. Or, as is the case here, what someone else wrote.
Well, guess what : that’s what a blog, and the whole Internet for that matter, is about. That’s called freedom, and healthy debate. Good luck trying to intimidate me out of that.
You wrote, out of the blue, barging into a conversation I had with some “Anonymous” (who himself, was not man enough to take an alias before using a genuine ad hominem at me) :
“@Anonymous: Clairvaux simply canâ€™t handle any comments that go against the standard US propaganda, esp. the anti-Russia hysteria, which he/she will defend tooth and nail and regurgitate like a loyal parrot, thereby trying to ridiculise the other.”
First of all, this is insulting (I don’t even mention wrong and stupid). Telling people they are loyal parrots is insulting, especially when they are not, and get insulted by all sides, as I do, precisely because I think by myself and do not parrot anybody.
It’s a bit rich of you complaining of an “ad hominem attack”, right after having made a personal attack on me without the slightest prior provocation on my behalf.
Also, you thought it appropriate to support a Mr. Anonymous who a) spouted nonsense, b) embarked on a personal attack and ad hominem argument, as soon as his wrong and silly one-liner was called out for what it was. Let me remind you the exchange :
“Anonymous said on August 13, 2018 at 7:46 pm
Google, just another american sect collecting personal data on every family in the World like Mormons etc do. Not new.”
“Clairvaux said on August 13, 2018 at 9:39 pm
Yeah. Because Mormons have a proven track record of using the birth register data they collect against their owners. And of course Mormons use modern technology a lot. I wish people would stop drawing false comparisons. Itâ€™s funny, but meaningless.
Smartphones are the worst snooping devices ever invented. Itâ€™s also very difficult to resist using one, and, once youâ€™ve given in, to resist taking advantage of the benefits data sharing gives you.”
“Anonymous said on August 13, 2018 at 10:42 pm
Google is one of the culminations of the Technocracy movement born in 1930. This dangerous imperialist movement is a sect and still alive: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technocracy_movement”
Notice how “Anonymous” completely ignored the second part of my comment, which he would not have if he had wanted to discuss in good faith.
“Clairvaux said on August 14, 2018 at 1:58 pm
No. This is plain wrong. Have you even read the article youâ€™re linking to ? Do it. it disproves your fantasies.”
“Anonymous said on August 14, 2018 at 5:54 pm
The article is not well documented in english US. Read the French article youâ€™ll understand better.”
“Anonymous said on August 14, 2018 at 6:02 pm”
Are you a kind of Mormon yourself ?”
Now that’s an ad hominem, Klaas. Do you understand the difference ?
“Anonymous said on August 14, 2018 at 6:07 pm
Probably, as Mister Claivaux is well known on his earlier writings to spread fables each time it concern U.S enterprises.”
And that’s trolling pure and simple, besides being a personal attack and just a lie.
I don’t “spread fables each time it concern U.S enterprises” (whatever language Mr. Anonymous might be using here, while defaming people without a thread of supporting evidence). Saying a commenter you dislike is “well known for” is pure slander and trolling.
And hinting at other, past and unspecified threads to support this, and in order to do character assassination on a commenter is typical trolling. Nobody can check what was actually said. Those who did read the alleged threads have long forgotten the details. The slander remains.
And it’s at that point that you chose to impart your wisdom to the readers of this blog :
“klaas said on August 14, 2018 at 7:25 pm
@Anonymous: Clairvaux simply canâ€™t handle any comments that go against the standard US propaganda, esp. the anti-Russia hysteria, which he/she will defend tooth and nail and regurgitate like a loyal parrot, thereby trying to ridiculise the other.”
And it’s me who’s “trying to ridiculise the other” ? It’s me who’s doing “compulsive ad hominem attacks” ? I would advise you, and your colleagues acting similarly, to check your own behaviour before insulting others.
Now this would be true whatever the opinions expressed, but it’s a fact that once more, what started your phony anger is my opposing standard leftist drivel and anti-american propaganda. And you responded with standard leftist drivel and anti-american propaganda.
Stupid anti-american propaganda, I must add, since what angers you is what you call “anti-Russia hysteria”, conflating it with “US propaganda”. Roughly half of the American people have elected a president whose fight against “anti-Russia hysteria” is one of his main agenda points, and he now leads America. That might have escaped your attention.
Let’s not mention the fact that I did not even mention Russia here, so methinks the hysteria relative to that country is rather on your side.
Also, you don’t seem to realise that using words such “hysteria” or “US lackeys” shows that you are the propagandist here, and that it’s you who are parroting what other, mightier parties have prepared for you to swallow hook, line and sinker.
So yes, my bigger point, the point that I sometimes make when the leftist propaganda here gets too suffocating (and that’s only from a handful of commenters, I hasten to add), is once more proven : it’s leftists who never bother to argue in support of their worldview, but viciously embark into bullying, ad hominems and character assassination as soon as a voice raises which contradicts their politically correct, received wisdom.
That’s the way the Left works. And it’s the same in the tech industry, whenever political ideology is drawn into the picture, which is quite often these days. Whether the issue of the day is privacy, freedom of speech, or even the ability of browsers to be customised versus their mass-market appeal.
@Clairvaux: poor soul. You pathetic rant proves my point. Good luck and goodbye.
Don’t poor soul me, don’t pretend to be polite while insulting people, and just shut up if you don’t have anything to say, which should be pretty obvious by now.
@Clairvaux: poor, poor, hopelessly lost thing, why do you keep torturing yourself & confirming my initial point? You’re just ruining your good reputation on this forum with your rants & screams. Never mind, one day you might learn. Ciao ;-)
Not your fist comment, Anonymous, but the way replies flood reminds me school where we’d spend our breaks in an infinite loop of the form “-You started -No, you did -No, ‘was you …”. This said can’t really focus on anyone in particular given governments themselves behave the same way (see Middle-East i.e.) I never knew if there was a secret formula to escape from that loop.
And the winner is… he/she who exited the loop. Congratulations :=)
In complement another interesting reading: https://livre.fnac.com/a10162257/Christine-Kerdellant-Dans-la-Google-du-loup
“Dans la Google du loup” de Christine Kerdellant:
“Dans la Google du loup est Ã la fois un roman d’anticipation et une dÃ©monstration rigoureuse. A la maniÃ¨re d’une sÃ©rie tÃ©lÃ© aux personnages familiers et au scÃ©nario implacable, il raconte le monde que ” Big G ” nous imposera demain si nous n’en prenons pas conscience. Faut-il laisser Google dicter ” son ” futur de l’homme et de l’univers ?
Google se prend pour Dieu : il veut ” augmenter ” l’homme et tuer la mort… pour les plus riches. Les autres deviendront les ” chimpanzÃ©s du futur “.
Google considÃ¨re la vie privÃ©e comme une anomalie et la surveillance comme un dÃ©sagrÃ©ment inÃ©vitable.
Google milite pour la viande sans viande et la voiture sans conducteur.
Google, champion des paradis fiscaux, exerce un pouvoir totalitaire : celui de faire vivre ou mourir les sites internet qui le concurrencent.
Google est le leader de l’intelligence artificielle, qui pourra dÃ©crÃ©ter un jour que l’homme est inutile.
De l’implant rÃ©tinien Ã la puce dans le cerveau, des mÃ©dicaments bioÃ©lectroniques aux manipulations de l’ADN, de l’exploitation des donnÃ©es personnelles Ã la fin de la vie privÃ©e puis la disparition de l’homo sapiens… Google-Alphabet prÃ©pare sa mutation de l’univers.”
“Qui l’arrÃªtera ?”
> Fin du discours de D.Villepin Ã l’O.N.U: “Et c’est un vieux pays, la France, d’un vieux continent comme le mien, l’Europe, qui vous le dit aujourd’hui, qui a connu les guerres, l’occupation, la barbarie. Un pays qui n’oublie pas et qui sait tout ce qu’il doit aux combattants de la libertÃ© venus d’AmÃ©rique et d’ailleurs. Et qui pourtant n’a cessÃ© de se tenir debout face Ã l’Histoire et devant les hommes. FidÃ¨le Ã ses valeurs, il veut agir rÃ©solument avec tous les membres de la communautÃ© internationale. Il croit en notre capacitÃ© Ã construire ensemble un monde meilleur.”
RÃ©ponse de Trump: “L’europe est l’ennemie des Etats-Unis”.
“Don’t be evil”.
This is an English-language blog. If you absolutely must troll it with off-topic comments, you might at least be considerate enough to translate your Ctrl C’s + Ctrl V’s into the common language used here. Imagine if everyone used his own national language ? By the way, the author of the blog is German, and he takes pain to write in English. Would it be too much to ask that you do the same ?
Now for your comments themselves. The first is the marketing blurb of a fiction book, written by a not-exactly-stellar journalist. Fiction is just that : the work of someone’s imagination. Just because Mrs Kerdellant wrote a probably not very good anticipation novel to supplement her income, by doing what currently sells — Google bashing — does not mean it’s a serious argument in the serious conversation that Google’s position indeed warrants.
You second comment is downright dishonest. As in : outrageous, left-wing dishonesty.
You take two quotes out of their context. The first is from a French politician and was made in 2003. The second is by an American politician and was made 15 years later. And you have the gall to present the latter as a reply to the former.
Then, you misrepresent what Trump actually said. He said the European Union was an enemy of the United States. Not the enemy.
Then, you completely omit the fact that Trump spouts an incredible amount of drivel off the top of his head, only to say exactly the opposite the next day.
Then, you take mendacity one step further, by using this non-existing “reply” as an argument to slander a technology provider which is completely unrelated to the context in which both quotes were made — and certainly to the first one, which was about the second Iraq war.
Using false and dishonest arguments does not help a legitimate debate. But some of you French chaps are only too happy to bask in America-bashing, in order to blame on others the pathetic state of your quasi-communist economy, and the huge unemployment level that’s been your privilege for nearly 40 years now.
Google is shit. Amazing how so many people still think they are good compared to MS or whatever.
But Chrome, their (in their words) search based data collector provides significant revenue!
Google and its privacy issues is a goldmine for sites like this. A never ending story …………
What everyone misses is that you MUST create a verified Google account and AGREE to their invasive terms of service in order to turn off the location tracking.
The true privacy control should be on the local phone. Instead there is a fake one givng a false sense of security. This has GDPR lawsuit worth billions written all over it!
Consumer should be able to uninstall Google spyware and use third party site like Fortnite.com or FDroid. Android phones in China are sold WITHOUT Google.
Now Google wants to get under the covers with the Chinese Communist Party. Peas of a pod? Imagine sending the EU,USA citizens personal data TO China. Shhh!
Now Trump is asking Big-data to write the first national privacy law. He calls Google a ‘Great Company’! Are we insane?
What is the problem with switching to the iPhone?
For those unfamiliar with urban English:
The act of dropping one’s face / forehead into one’s hand. Usually accompanied by a “thunk” or a cr a cry of “D’oh!”
Usually written between asteriks in online conversation, to demonstrate an action.
Similar to *headdesk* ”
D’oh! — Now I get it :=)
I switched to iPhone and like it very much. I am also in the process of switching from MS to Mac. I am fed up and through with MS Windows. FYI, I bought a refurbished Iphone 6 and a one yr. old Macbook Air. Yes, it’s not the newest stuff on the market. And of course there are some issues, too. But compared to Scroogle and MS I think I can live with it and hope to enjoy a more reliable and less snooping system.
@Switched: are you sure Apple is more respectful of your privacy? It seems to me Apple does the same thing as Google, except charges your their premium for the privilege of using their device and still stealing your data.
@klass: “are you sure Apple is more respectful of your privacy?”
There is no question that Apple is more respectful of your privacy. That doesn’t mean that Apple is perfect, but they are certainly far better than Google.
@John Fenderson: 1. how do you know Apple is more respectful? 2. Why should Apple be more respectful with that plethora of data at their disposal?
apple1 funny you should mention that fruit logo company
“Google may track your location even if you disable Location tracking” – this has been known for several months on alternative news sites.
What did You expect from one of the most evil corporations in the world ?
Location is off on all our devices.
Walk into stores with your phone on, if they’re set up to track you, they get your info via. BT or wireless and can follow you all around the store. Small leap to imagine google being one of the recipients of what they do. Lots of ways to be tracked without you directly providing data. It’s, unfortunately, up to users to make tracking difficult.
If you’re so addicted to these stupid devices that you reflexively pick them up whenever they do something, that behavior needs fixing. Turn off your phone if you don’t need it and uninstall ad generating apps; there are plenty and I mean plenty of good apps that don’t treat you like an idiot. FossDroid has more new apps every day. But if purty pics, silly emojis and pukey cat vids are important, forget it, you’re part of the machine. You Tube is bigger than facebook now!
Folks forget that phones are primarily ad collectors that can make calls. Sort of, they seem to collect ads better than they make calls! Neither google nor apple care as much about their devices as their data services. Google’s phones are fading away. Phones are commodities now, all about the same, put effort into making yours belong to you, not to some underhanded ad giant.
Phone addiction can be very dangerous. I walked out on a riding instructor who let a horse run way with my daughter when she was a new rider. Full speed gallop with her doing her best superman around the horse’s neck. She jumped/fell off, the horse ran away, we walked straight to our car and left forever. A Hole instructor didn’t look up from his f’n phone until he heard the crunch when she hit the ground. She was lucky. I wasn’t going to test it a second time.
What if I don’ t have a Google account?
The ignorance on display here is quite frightening. Apparently very few people understand how cell phones even work.
It doesn’t take a smart phone with app on it to track your location, the base system already does that in order to keep your call connected.
No need to be frightened. There are many location-tracking methods built in a smartphone. The question is : who do you consider as your adversary, if any ? Not all methods are accessible to all adversaries, without restrictions. What is it that you are trying to prevent, if anything ?
A lot of people voluntarily surrender their privacy in exchange for the benefits brought by a smartphone — and there are many.
@Clairvaux: “The question is : who do you consider as your adversary”
Speaking for myself, any person, company, hardware, or software which is collecting information about me without both my knowledge and my consent are properly considered “attackers” (in the security sense) and are my adversary.
@ John Fenderson
Fair enough. But do you have a secondary adversary ? In plain words (because that’s the most common case), is the state (any state, not necessarily your own) your adversary ?
Because if the “only” thing you fear is the primary adversary collecting information about you, and doing this for the reason most of them do it, which is commercial, because they are businesses, it’s one class of problems, which are relatively easy to solve. All right, it’s not that easy, since it involves tens and maybe hundreds of tweaks, specific software, etc.
However, if you consider the state also as your adversary, then it’s a whole other class of problems, much more difficult to protect from. Which does not mean you can’t do it — to a point.
I hasten to add you don’t need to be a Muslim terrorist to be legitimately afraid of the state. Some perfectly peaceful people have good reasons to have the state as their adversary.
However, many people thoughtlessly equate ad-oriented tracking with the big, bad NSA breaking you door and shooting you.
So the real question is : are you afraid that your personal info might leak from the first line of potential adversaries (your ISP, software providers, mail servers, visited websites, e-merchants…) to the state ?
And if yes, is your fear justified ? Anybody is entitled to say : I don’t want any of my personal info to leak to the NSA (or any other, lesser state entity such as the police), just on principle. What I’m saying is : if that’s what you want, be aware that it will be much more difficult to prevent it.
In some cases, it will even be impossible. We know that some of the mightier espionage agencies (not only American ones) plug their snooping equipment right on the Internet undersea backbones. Good luck protecting yourself from that…
My point is : evaluate correctly your threats, and only protect against real ones. Otherwise, you’ll make your life miserable, and miss on a lot of opportunities. And, please (that’s not directed to you), don’t troll others because their circumstances are different, and they might make different choices.
Is the problem evil corporations or evil governments who sanction this behavior?
Location-based tracking always turned off. My Timeline is empty as well.
GPS is off by default. On only when using Waze.
Every single computer has its own IP and the IP locates you at physical address, so Google may track any location in the world because hide IP is not easy for the common people.
“the IP locates you at physical address”
Very poorly, fortunately. If you try to determine where my house is based on the IP address of my internet connection, you’ll be off by about 100 miles.
Be sure that if some important people want to know where you are, they will find you.
It’s not enough for those people to “want” something. There’s something called the law, and even the police has to abide by it. If you think about privacy without taking into account the type of surveillance you want to protect from, you’ll soon become paranoid.
Suppose for a minute smartphones and computers did not exist. Well, the police could still go to your home and arrest you. If they had a legal motive for it. How come millions of people are suddenly terrorised about the police, while they would not have cared before ?
Computers and telephones don’t attract the police. Things that you do might. If you’re Joe Bob and you act as though you were as much at risk as a career spy, in a foreign country, during a shooting war, you’re fooling yourself. If you need to hide your IP (and there might be legitimate reasons for that), use Tor.
“How come millions of people are suddenly terrorised about the police, while they would not have cared before?”, your question is amazingly deep. How can people accept so easily to share their lives with thousands of photos of themselves, their families, jobs, friends and whatever… and then be so concerned about privacy and location issues? I don’t know.
“Law and justice are not always the same.”, Gloria Steinem.
@John: “Be sure that if some important people want to know where you are, they will find you.”
Of course, barring extreme actions to avoid this. But this has always been true, even from before the internet existed.
Completely agree. History is plenty of examples about you meant. :)
Oops before I forget to mention apple is working on a biometric chip related to tracking health…
Awesome : “Google’s data collection is hard to escape, study claims”
Awesome maybe, but is anyone seriously surprised?
Article : https://money.cnn.com/2018/08/21/technology/google-data-collection/index.html
Study : https://digitalcontentnext.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/DCN-Google-Data-Collection-Paper.pdf
Hmmm… I just read an article on bleepingcomputer.com which states that an idle Android phone communicates 10 times more frequently with Google than an Apple device communicates with Apple. https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/google/idle-android-phones-send-data-to-google-ten-times-more-often-than-ios-devices-to-apple/
The article contains a link to a 55-page research paper in PDF format which contains in-depth details of the comms taking place.
What despicable swine Google are…… they’ve been forcing content, in the language of the country I live in, upon me for years. I don’t speak it + certainly have never selected it, yet it persists…….. the illusion of choice they spin, the reality is you can’t even select the language of your choice, one you speak, usually, I assume.
We’re all so used to it, now, we hardly bat an eyelid when we hear of these low-lives + their latest nazi-like behaviour……. the arrogance is stunning……. disable tracking but we’ll track you anyway, what you want is of no consequence whatsoever……
I’ve grown to truly loathe Google, the more I came to know of them it was unavoidable, they epitomise the greed so common today, take what you can, give as little as you can, back………
Scum, is what they are……. + they’re allowed to be so by our constantly failing leadership who align themselves with big business, it’s them + us. Mobs like Google carry on like totalitarian regimes + we don’t make enough noise about it, they need reminding, don’t track me means precisely that…….. Scum, I say again, is what they are, dangerous, enemy of the people, scum, that should be squashed…….
An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so.