A computer security researcher has recently warned people that their Android device is tracking them constantly, even when Google Maps is off, due to the increased dependence third party apps have on location services.
This may come as a surprise because, while almost all of us are aware that we are being tracked whenever we open Google Maps, we just assume it stops tracking us whenever we turn it off. But the thing is, that even when we do turn off the Google Maps app, our devices keep sending our location details to Google.
This is happening because Google is encouraging apps to use various APIs which include location service APIs that are built into the Google Play Store which it then uses for app distribution and updates.
So this means that there are several apps that are tracking your location even though you turned them off. Uninstalling them won’t work either because the Google Play location APIs are tracking Android users constantly. You can disable the location services provided by Google Play, but that also means that they won’t work on other third party apps either.
As mentioned previously, Google encourages app makers to use the location services APIs and it even has a new option named Nearby Notifications that enables companies to send alerts and notifications to devices that are located in a specific place without the need to install any software on the Android device.
This is a bit concerning to some users and some security experts have accused Google of mishandling users’ privacy, not to mention that disabling the Google Play location service renders the device impossible to use, unless users manually update every app that they have.
A very effective but annoying solution to this for those that are against this situation is to turn on and off the location services whenever they need to.