Android phones collecting users location data even when you are offline and send it back to google once you have connected to the Internet. Even though if you have turned off Location services or removed SIM card.
Starting from 2017 Android phones started collecting address of nearby cellphone towers even if you turn off location services and send back to Google once you come online, according to Quartz investigation.
Quartz contacted Google and they confirmed the practice. According to Google Spokesperson Google uses to manage push notifications and messages on Android phones for the past 11 months. He also added they never used or stored data.
Devices that connected to mobile data or WiFi use to send data to Google whenever they come across with a new cell tower. Quartz observed even after default factory reset and apps with location service disabled it continues to send nearby cell tower address to Google.
It is still unclear how the cell tower address transmitted as a data string will improve the message delivery and not limited to any particular type of Android phone or tablet; Google was apparently collecting cell tower data from all modern Android devices before being contacted by Quartz.
The practice is annoying and it breaks the user’s privacy. Anyway the data sent is encrypted, but still, it can be potentially used if the device is compromised with Spyware.
Nowadays it is not a surprise to see a malicious app on Google play store, hackers continued to deceive the Google safety checks even after Google play protect implementation.
When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location. We use various technologies to determine location, including IP address, GPS, and other sensors that may, for example, provide Google with information on nearby devices, Wi-Fi access points, and cell towers.
There is no way for users to turn off the collection of cell tower data, according to Google they are to end the practice by end of this month and Android phones will no longer send cell-tower location data to Google.