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Google and your location data

Google have been accessing peoples location data even when the phones had no SIMs & also if the GPS was off in them and were using just Wifi. They say they have now stopped and that the data was not kept and was securely transmitted.

To read articles on it see:

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Must say " A bit rude of them ."

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from your Quartz link:
“The revelation comes as Google and other internet companies are under fire from lawmakers and regulators, including for the extent to which they vacuum up data about users. Such personal data, ranging from users’ political views to their purchase histories to their locations, are foundational to the business successes of companies like Facebook and Alphabet, built on targeted advertising and personalization and together valued at over $1.2 trillion by investors.”

If Facebook and Alphabet are the data suckers, what does that make the users? Sucked in?

Not happy that these businesses are tracking, monitoring, etc. without consent. I for one would resist any moves that have a potential for a Big Brother like scenario.

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Very true, we are the unwitting pawns in very big business who want more of the “less we have”. Without these disclosures of what they are doing with us and our information, we cannot take any precautionary actions to stop this theft & misuse. They might say they have our licence to do so and the legalise could grant them supposed rights, but do they really have this? Is it ethical, my thoughts are NO NO NO, but when big money talks the rights are easily wiped away by willing and perhaps co-opted legislators.

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Please note though the article linked to has a similar title to others previously listed this feature has been recently “discovered”

Wired has an article by Emily Dreyfuss that explains another setting you have to turn off to further remove yourself from Google’s tracking. It also may be that Google will face some Class Action suits over the matter. To read the article and also how to turn this other tracking feature off visit:

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Reviving an old topic as I’m not at all happy with Google/Android right now.
I installed the latest version of Android a couple of weeks ago and found that some of my widgets no longer work after the phone (Samsung S8) has been turned off or is in energy saving mode overnight. My weather widget, which uses info I have uploaded from my own weather station just sits there displaying “waiting for data”, until I run it from the app icon. Similar non-starting for Weatherzone, and Network Signal Info Pro now always seems to be displaying the wrong signal strength, as it isn’t updating.

However, my biggest gripe is that they have made my GPS inoperable, unless I agree to be tracked by Google! Now whenever I turn on the GPS receiver, I get asked “Turn on location?”, with the blurb stating “Google may collect location data periodically and use it…” as they please. If I disagree then the GPS is turned off, meaning Maps is no longer useful, nor a number of other programs that rely on GPS, such as Strava, Androsensor, location in photos etc.

If I didn’t rely on my mobile phone (I have no landline) I might be tempted to hit it with a really big hammer :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

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I wonder if Apple do similar capture of location data when GPS is used on their phones? I don’t use an iPhone so have no idea but anyone who does might be able to answer my question. If Apple don’t would this encourage movement towards their phones?

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I doubt it. Most of ‘us’ just go with whatever and despite the media ‘we’ pay attention to, most do not, and the difference between Android and Apple is religious, about convenice, features, price, and the almighty camera. In the end I suspect most people see it as the difference between the coalition and Labor - Tweedledee and Tweedledum but you cannot always tell who is whom and it will change at consumers’ whims or a product cycle.

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According to the Guardian in 2011, Yes. (Article not linked here)

More recently Two answers:

I turn off access to all Apps and limit which can to when needed. It seems to help with battery life.

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To both @TheBBG and @mark_m Thank you for the info. It appears that to benefit from what should be identity free GPS data you have to give up that identity even if not specifically needing any input/output from either Google or Apple. A simple GPS logger doesn’t require such intrusive behaviour in my most humble opinion.

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Yes, but with many apps there is the option to only use GPS while the app is being used. So I think it is possible to restrict Google’s access to info, and still use the other apps. (But I might be wrong, because of so many revelations about things happening on our phones that we didn’t know of, and we can’t control!)

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Is it a losing battle and you are on the beach at Dunkirk after the last boat has departed?

My first not so smart Telstra/Samsung phone used the mobile towers to provide location data. No GPS required. It needed more than one tower to have any precision of course. It did well in the city, within 20m.

I rarely used it as the mapping app from Telstra used live data, and like all good things Telstra was charged to your account at some astronomical data cost. :scream:

Google seems only to need to access the WiFi network data to have a a pretty good idea of where you are? Don’t know how they do that? :worried:

Actually most of us probably do know the answer. Is there anyone who has never used google on their PC or device?

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I’d love it if someone could tell me how to do that now! I have no location history in Google to date, but now GPS can’t even be turned on without allowing Google to collect location data, since I installed Android 9 a couple of weeks ago.
Another annoying thing about the update is that the screen is unresponsive for about 10 sec after closing some apps.
I wish I had ignored the update, as I was happy with it as it was before.

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I wonder if getting a after market version of Android (custom ROMs) would allow you to cut that Google-ish linkage out from the sharing while using GPS. If it is a common phone then it much more likely to have at least one custom ROM out there eg from XDA (for the S8 https://forum.xda-developers.com/galaxy-s8/development) or use tools/apps similar to XPrivacyLua (https://lua.xprivacy.eu/).

Please note I have no idea how safe this particular Xprivacy product is but is just a result of searching for a means to limit Google’s intrusions. There may be others out in the internet that do a better, worse or similar job.

While the following tips in the linked articles won’t likely fix the location data issues they might limit other Google grabs:

So from my reading it would appear you need to ditch Google Maps for a start and move to another map app, there was one suggested in at least one of the linked articles above. Then turning off Web & App activity. Doing this will nobble a lot of Google stuff so would mean getting the apps you need first then ditch the Google Play Store and move to the replacement ones. You also need to reduce your location accuracy to purely GPS so it cuts accuracy but stops Wifi, Bluetooth and other location enhancing data being used. I guess a more thorough read and research would enable a user to further refine what is needed to be done.

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I am using an iPhone, so I can’t help with the Android environment. If you are willing to take the risk, it might be worth considering @grahroll’s XDA suggestion. I used ROM hacks from XDA some years ago to mod a HTC phone, and it worked brilliantly. The developers there are very much into users maintaining control.

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I solved the problem this afternoon- installing the new Android version appears to have changed my settings- it turned the use WiFi etc for location to ON, something I always have turned off. So when I tried to use GPS, but said no, it created a conflict with the setting that had been changed with the update.
I turned it off, and was once again able to use GPS without Google tracking me.
Something to remember if I risk another update.

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It’s one thing that drives me mad. I currently have an iPhone SE which I love. When it eventually dies I’m split between iOS and Android.

iOS’s functionality to limit and disable various forms of tracking and data collection makes it much more attractive to me. I have one or two apps I want to use location with, but it lets me only allow it while the app is open. Additionally I can easily disable system actions that use location data (for example compass automatically adjusting itself and in turn creating a data point every time). The data that is collected in the background remains fairly anonymous compared to Android where it can be tied to your Ad ID (which can in turn be linked back to you fairly easily).

However the extra cost of getting an iPhone (combined with far fewer options, no headphone jack, no touch ID and no compact phones) is starting to make me think whether those privacy options are worth it. Thoughts?

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The only good news is that there may be some time before your iPhone SE needs to be replaced. Other than now being in need of a new battery my 4S was my everyday phone for nearly 7 years. It is also now well past receiving IOS updates. I now use an 8.

The headphone jack is not an issue, as the 8 came with a short adaptor cable for the data/physical charging port. It has Touch ID that works great. Yes the price point is challenging if your needs are modest. And who knows whether Apple will offer a pocket size option when we next need a new mobile?

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That’s what I’m holding out for. I doubt Apple have completely ruled out doing more budget models in the future. And one of the reasons I bought the SE is it should be repairable enough to keep it going for a while yet.

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Theres a rumour of an upgraded SE with a 4.8" screen. They could do that in the current size (or close to it) if they create it like the X series. I wonder if they would call it an XSE.

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