How Google monitors every step of Android users

By: Bohdan Chub | 26.01.2018, 15:43
How Google monitors every step of Android users

Last year, Google was caught in tracking the location of Android-devices on the base stations of cellular operators. This function was safely disabled, but users do not even suspect what amounts of data are still transmitted to the servers of the search giant.

Go there, I know where

Quintz quacks decided to deal with the "History of locations", when enabled, Google begins to actively collect information about the movements of users. To do this, they took smartphones Google Pixel 2, Samsung Galaxy S8 and Moto Z Droid, pulled out of them SIM-cards and went for a walk around the city, periodically calling in local shopping centers, shops, restaurants and so on. Get your caps from the foil, it will be interesting!

During the experiment, the researchers observed the main ports through which data is transmitted over the network and found the following:

  • List of types of user traffic. The device determines them in the form of probabilities (for example, walking: 51%, cycling: 4%, on rail: 3%).
  • Information about the atmospheric pressure.
  • A smartphone is connected to the Wi-Fi network or not.
  • The MAC address of the wireless access point to which the device is connected.
  • MAC address, signal strength and frequency of all access points nearby.
  • MAC address, identifier, type and pair of signal strength measurements of detected Bluetooth beacons
  • Battery charge level and whether the device is currently charging
  • Battery voltage.
  • GPS-coordinates of the smartphone and their accuracy
  • The altitude value by GPS, and how accurately it is defined

Impressive? But that's not all. According to Quartz, the history of locations uses Bluetooth to scan beacons, even if the owner of the smartphone did not include this module, and the option to search for Bluetooth-enabled devices in the settings is not active.

According to Google, location data can improve the quality of search and suggested routes on maps, and Google Photos photoservice on the basis of this information sorts photos into visited places. The query also appears when you first start Google Now, but it's unlikely anyone will like that its "personal seat map" can be used by other companies for geo-targeting ads. In fairness, the default location history is turned off on Android devices.

What to do?

Do not want to share with Google more information about yourself - here's how to turn off location history on your device. You can see the already accumulated chronology of your movements by clicking on this link .

Source: Quartz ( 1 ), ( 2 )