It has emerged that Android smartphone track every of your move, even when location services are switched off.
Read also: ‘Apple to add FaceID to iPhones next year’
It is claimed that handsets running the Google-developed operating system collect information about where you have been, transmitting it back whenever they connect to the internet.
This they continue to do, even when there is no SIM card inserted or apps running.
This shocking news followed an investigation for Quartz by reporter, Keith Collins, who discovered that, since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby mobile transmitter towers.
That means Google has access to data about the locations and movements of any Android user.
According to the findings, the addresses are sent to the system the Menlo Park based search company uses to manage push notifications and messages.
It is unclear how identifying the nearest cell tower could be used to improve Google’s message services.
The transmissions have been made for the past 11 months, but were never stored or used by the company, a spokesman told Mr Collins.
The firm is now taking steps to end the practice, it says.
The finding raises worrying privacy concerns over the gathering of such detailed location data.
Knowing the location of one nearby cell tower is not enough to identify the specific location of a handset, and it’s user.
But by using data from multiple towers, a location can be triangulated within a radius of around 0.5 miles (0.8 km).
This becomes even more precise in built up areas like cities.
Although the data sent is encrypted, a third party could make use of it if the handset has been infected with spyware, malware or other hacking tools.
Every handset also has a unique ID number that can be associated with the location data.