According to an investigation conducted by tech blog Quartz, Google tracks the location of your Android device even if location services is turned off and no SIM card is activated.
The article explains that, since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been sending location information to Google by tracking cell tower addresses. Google confirmed the practice, however a spokesperson also said that the information was never used or stored. Nevertheless, it is a serious privacy and consumer rights violation. The company justified the practice, saying that they started to look at cell phone location to “improve the speed and performance of message delivery”.
It’s not easy to say to what extent Google has been using – or worse, selling – this information. The implications of this practice are serious, and consumers should be able to opt out of it. There are a number of reasons for users to turn off location services – from simply remaining private to avoiding being tracked by an abusive partner, for instance. According to the Google spokesperson, the company will stop the cell tower tracking by the end of November. If the company is really going to stop remains to be seen.