Apple was on fire few days back when a news came that apple is regularly tracking down user location on GPS. Android users might have been happy for a while But a new research can shock them too. Android smartphones regularly transmit their locations back to Google. According to security researcher Samy Kamkar , android phones regularly connect to Google.com and disgorge a miniature data dump that includes time down to the millisecond, current and recent GPS coordinates, nearby Wi-Fi network addresses, and two 16-letter strings representing a device ID that’s unique to each phone.
According to Gartner, a research firm, Google and Apple are gathering location information as part of their race to build massive databases capable of pinpointing people’s locations via their cellphones. These databases could help them tap the $2.9 billion market for location-based services—expected to rise to $8.3 billion in 2014. Until last year, Google was collecting similar Wi-Fi data with its fleet of StreetView cars that map and photograph streets world-wide. The company shut down its StreetView Wi-Fi collection last year after it inadvertently collected e-mail addresses, passwords and other personal information from Wi-Fi networks. The data that Mr. Kamkar observed being transmitted on Android phones didn’t include such personal information.
It’s difficult to know how significant the privacy risks are. That depends in large part on whether Google anonymizes the location information and device ID that it collects from Android devices and, especially, how long data is kept. Mr Kamkar has developed android map , which exposes the data that Google has been collecting from virtually all Android devices and street view cars, using them essentially as global wardriving machines. A reply was made by Google representative on a query by Cnet.com quoting “We provide users with notice and control over the collection, sharing, and use of location in order to provide a better mobile experience on Android devices. Any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user.”