Report: Google collects data on Android users' locations when location services are turned off

Photo: Shutterstock

A new report shows that Google has been accessing data about Android users' locations, even when the user believes that the data is being kept private.

According to a report from Quartz, Google has been able to access users' data about their locations due to Android phones collecting addresses of cell towers. That data is then sent back to Google, which may be an invasion of privacy, the report says. 

Google confirmed the practice to Quartz, but said that it was ending the practice at the end of the month, Quartz reported.

“In January of this year, we began looking into using Cell ID codes as an additional signal to further improve the speed and performance of message delivery,” a Google spokesperson told Quartz. “However, 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.”

"To ensure messages and notifications are received quickly, modern Android phones use a network sync system that requires the use of Mobile Country Codes (MCC) and Mobile Network Codes (MNC)," a Google spokesman told Fox News.

"This apparent disregard for users’ data privacy needs to end," Mike Kail, CTO and Cofounder, of security company CYBRIC told Fox News via email. "Perhaps it is time for the US to consider regulations similar to the forthcoming GDPR in the EU to institute greater transparency around the collection of personal data, including location, and providing a mechanism for users to have greater control over what data gets stored and where."