Google admits collecting Android users' locations

Violet Tucker
Ноября 26, 2017

The KCC or Korea Communications Commission is conducting an inquiry into claims that Google has collected cell ID data of users without their consent even when the smartphones they were using had in inactive location service, said a member of the KCC.

Google has been tracking some location data from Android users - even when location services are turned off.

United Kingdom data protection officials are also looking into the matter. The spokesperson added that the ICO was aware of the reports relate to tracking data and had been in contact with people at Google.

A newly published report revealed that Google Inc. has been spying on the locations of the Android Users, even when the user thinks that the location data is being kept private or secret.

Although the data sent to Google is encrypted, it could be harmful if a third-parties get their hands on it in cases of hacking.

According to a Google spokesperson, the data was not used or stored, and that the company was taking steps to stop the practice by the end of November. "Going ahead, we plan to carefully examine whether location information for Android smartphone users was collected and used without their consent, as well as to cooperation with global efforts as we determine the investigative responses to this issue in the U.S., the European Union, Japan, and elsewhere", the commission said.

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Google says that the data had been collected to improve its message and notifications delivery, and had not been stored on servers at Google.

Android devices without a SIM card, but connected to a WiFi network, would still send tower addresses to Google.

If Google collected Cell IDs without consent, the company may have violated South Korea's Location Data Protection Act, whether the data was stored on Google's USA servers or not, said Hwang Sun-chul, an official with KCC's commission's privacy infringement division.

No official investigation was launched as of yet, and additional information will be needed that will come from the USA headquarters of Google, said the KCC official.

Since January, all Android devices, even with location services disabled, were sending cell-tower addresses to Google. Google acknowledged updating its Android smartphone program to send the location information.

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