Friend lost his phone so I helped him using “Google find my device” service. Then I started wondering… Does it work if the phone has no GPS on? And yes it did work.
Started doing some research on this and I found out that Google (And other companies for example Apple) uses BSSID information from your WLAN Access Point to get an approximation of where you are located. So they basicly build a Database which links WLAN BSSIDs to a geographic location.
So why is that? Why would they really need to capture your location 24/7 and how do you not give your location to them? Probably mission impossible atleast on IOS devices. On android you could just change your ROM which can be hard process especially if you are Huawei user as in Huawei it’s nearly impossible to open it’s boot loader. Does companies sell that location data they capture? Well I have some answers for you that I have taken from: Google Policies site.
We collect information about your location when you use our services, which helps us offer features like driving directions for your weekend getaway or showtimes for movies playing near you.
They also say that:
The types of location data we collect depend in part on your device and account settings. For example, you can turn your Android device’s location on or off using the device’s settings app. You can also turn on Location History if you want to create a private map of where you go with your signed-in devices.
And of course we tried to turn those off and use the Google Find My Device app again and guess what? It worked. It could track the phone even if those options were off and GPS was off. This might of course be because the app is literally made to track your device which might mean that while using it you allow Google to see the location while using the application.
So does google sell this data? What are the other methods they possibly get you location?
In some circumstances, Google also collects information about you from publicly accessible sources. For example, if your name appears in your local newspaper, Google’s Search engine may index that article and display it to other people if they search for your name. We may also collect information about you from trusted partners, including marketing partners who provide us with information about potential customers of our business services, and security partners who provide us with information to protect against abuse. We also receive information from advertisers to provide advertising and research services on their behalf.
We use various technologies to collect and store information, including cookies, pixel tags, local storage, such as browser web storage or application data caches, databases, and server logs.
Good article of how to turn off google’s location tracking: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/aug/14/how-to-turn-off-google-location-tracking
Not sure if it even helps… Couple moths back researchers found out that Android devices transfer data to google every 15 minutes. No one’s sure what data.
Also thanks to everyone who isn’t crying “I already knew” on the comments. Some people don’t know and I think this is important and interesting topic. Please comment more information if you know something!