Android smartphone users are constantly having their locations and activities monitored by Google, even when their devices are set to Flight Mode
GOOGLE is tracking the movements and activities of Android smartphone users, even when they have their phones set to Flight Mode.
Its tracking technology logs the times at which users move from one location to another, and can even tell when they get into and out of cars.
Google even collects data that has been produced by Android smartphone’s while they’ve been in Flight Mode
The discovery was made by Fox News’ Brett Larson, who in a report for the Tucker Carlson Tonight show conducted an experiment using two Android phones that weren’t connected to the internet or any data network.
Both lacked SIM cards and wi-fi connections, while one was set to Flight Mode for the duration of the test, during which Larson simply walked around Washington D.C. and visited several landmarks over the course of a few hours.
He found that the smartphone not on Flight Mode recorded the data for 121 exact locations and 130 activities, such as walking, standing still, and exiting a vehicle.
But what was most surprising was that “the phone with Airplane Mode activated actually logged more locations and activities than the other phone,” according to Larson, although he didn’t give precise numbers.
Brett Larson’s test applied only to Android smartphones, although Apple has been reported to collect iPhone user data as well, relating to FaceTime and iMessage usage and the purchase of apps
Larson’s finding reveals that our phones are collecting data on us all the time, even when we take steps to prevent such data from being collected.
Flight Mode is supposed to disable radio-frequency signal transmission by smartphones (and tablets), which should stop them from sending and receiving telephone, Bluetooth, and wi-fi signals.
However, it seems that the phone Larson tested continued to log data (possibly GPS data) while it was in Flight Mode.
And after Flight Mode was switched off, the collected data was then transmitted to Google, a consequence that has left some people worried.
“This is actually MORE disturbing than I thought. I want this to stop somehow. Is there any way? Any version of Android that doesn’t do this?” said one poster on the Android Reddit page, where a video of Larson’s report was posted.
As for iPhones, Larson’s study didn’t apply to them, although that doesn’t mean that Apple doesn’t collect user data as well.
For example, in May, ZDNet writer Zack Whittaker asked Apple to send back all the data it had on him, after the company launched its new Data and Privacy portal.
He was then sent around 5MB of metadata (not the actual content) of FaceTime calls and iMessages, as well as data on all the different apps he’d downloaded, on the times he’d logged into iTunes, and on the Apple devices he’d bought, among many other things.
Are you worried that tech companies are gathering too much data on you? Let us know in the comments.