The fact that a person's location can be tracked by a third party using his or her cellphone is hardly new.
Quartz discovered that Google has been relaying Android phone users' locations to cellphone towers even when the user has turned off location services, isn't using any apps, and doesn't have a SIM card installed.
Google said it had been collecting the tower addresses for 11 months "as an additional signal to further improve the speed and performance of message delivery". Google sent that data to cellphone towers even if the phone user had explicitly switched off location services.
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Smartphones provide lots of information about us to to companies like Google and Apple, things like our location and more.
'Even when we take precautionary measures that go beyond what the average user would do, it appears we can not escape being tracked.
Google said the data was "immediately discarded" and promised to update phones to prevent it happening in the future.
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".
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The issue affected Android phones with Google Play Services running in the background.
Location sharing isn't a new phenomenon as most tech companies try and keep a tab on your location in order to provide you most optimal services.
As an advertiser Google is very much in the position to profit from knowing where you are with advertisers keen to offer you location based ads at any time - even if they didn't use the data (this time) it's still worrying.
The investigation has found that Google is collecting location data since beginning of 2017 after a change in early 2017 to the Firebase Cloud Messaging service.
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However, Google has told Quartz that they were never used or stored the data and that the company is now taking steps to end the practice after being contacted by Quartz. The findings are surprising, given that cell tower data is usually held by carrier networks and only shared with outside companies under extreme circumstances. In today's connected world its quintessential for smartphones to have access to your location, be it for navigation, social media check-in or to use apps like Uber and Lyft.