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Google is tracking Android phone users even when location history is turned off

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Android phones are tracking where users are and sending that information to Google despite active privacy settings which appear to prevent that from happening.

Handsets continue to send data to Google even when location history settings are turned off and the incognito privacy feature is turned on.

The Australian Consumer Competition Commission is pursuing legal action against Google over the controversial collection of information.

Professor Richard Buckland, expert in Cyber Crime at the School of Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW, says Google uses a combination of methods to determine track a person’s location.

“Your geolocation, so your latitude and longitude, can be sent back by some services,” he told Ross and Russel.

“Also just the names of the wifi access paths as you’re walking down the street.

“That collection of the full set that you can pick up from your house, that more or less pinpoints exactly where you are.”

Professor Buckland said location tracking can be used for good, and Google and Apple are providing that information to many governments around the world as they attempt to control the spread of COVID-19.

But there’s also big money to be made from knowing where users are.

“Knowing about your behaviour means I can send you more targeted ads, I can send you the appropriate election material if I wanted to persuade you … I could give information to companies,” Professor Buckland said.

Press PLAY below for the full interview.