NEW YORK: 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, Google has been able to access users’ data about their locations due to Android phones collecting addresses of mobile towers. That data is then sent back to Google, which may be an invasion of privacy, the report says.
Google has since confirmed the practice but said that it was ending the practice at the end of the month.
“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 said.
“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.
Reports said it was not used for ad-serving purposes, but rather to improve what Google calls its “heartbeat system,” which ensures “that phones remain connected and that people get their messages.”
In order for Android users to receive notifications and messages quickly, an Android device needs to maintain a persistent connection to Google servers using Firebase Cloud Messaging.