Android uses your location even when you disable tracking

Android uses your location even when you disable tracking

Android uses your location even when you disable tracking

The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) "is carrying out an inquiry into the claims that Google collected users' Cell ID data without consent even when their smartphone's location service was inactive", Chun Ji-hyun, head of KCC's privacy infringement division, told CNNMoney on Friday.

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

The matter is being looked at by data protection officials from the United Kingdom as well.

"Organizations are required by law to be transparent with consumers about what they are doing with personal information", said a spokesperson for the Information Commissioner's Office.

News website Quartz reported Android phones gathered information about nearby mobile phone masts and shared those details with Google. Although Google says the cell tower data is encrypted, it doesn't mean it can't be compromised by a hacker.

Google has confirmed this practice and has stated that they are trying to end this practice after being contacted by Quartz.

Google requested the Cell ID alongside what is called the mobile country code and mobile network code, which identify the country and mobile phone operator that the smartphone is using.

In January of 2017, Google said it started investigation the use of Cell ID codes as another signal to continue improving on the performance and speed of message delivery.

"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", Google spokesperson further added.

If Cell IDs were collected by Google without user consent, the company might have violated the Location Data Protection Act of South Korea, whether that data was stored on US servers of Google or not, says an official with the privacy infringement division of the KCC. Google was previously charged over 210 million won (US$193,000) in KCC penalties after being found to have collected wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) information without consent when developing its Street View photo-based map service in South Korea in 2014.

Android phones are the leaders in the global market.

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