Google to end the practice of tracking Android Cellular location

The Quartz report making the rounds is that Android system, which handles messaging services to ensure delivery of push notifications, requests the unique addresses of mobile phone masts (Cell ID), which makes it possible for Google to track the location of Android users.

Android phones are able to gather location data, even when location is actively turned off in settings, or even if you've not inserted a SIM card from any carrier.

Through the pinging of Google’s servers using a system known as Firebase Cloud Messaging, the Cell ID codes (a unique number that identifies a cell tower), can be used to determine a device’s location.

And the location data is especially beneficial to advertisers who want to target customers based on their geographic information, through Google's online AdWords advertising program.

Google, however states that the Cell ID codes were never stored on its network system, meaning that the data is discarded almost immediately. And promises that it will no longer request such data from Cell ID codes.

But, the company is still using other codes, like: the mobile country code (MCC) and mobile network codes (MNC), to “provide necessary network information for messaging and notification delivery” and these codes can provide a device’s location to some apps.
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