My phone has GPS, which is privacy-preserving and more accurate when outdoors - which is any time I'm navigating, as I don't need maps indoors. So "Google's Location Service" is useless to me. I don't understand why Google has made it so difficult to avoid sharing my location "anonymously" with them.
Your lifetime value for Google multiplies when they can track your location. They learn where you live/work, how you commute, who you hang out with, whether and where you travel, when you get sick, etc.
Much of it can be approximated by looking at your searches alone,
but the correlation with your location record yields much higher accuracy.
Scumbags through and through.
The more mundane reason is because it's a better location service than your phone's GPS. It's a fair question how much more privacy-preserving your phone is when you disable Google's Location Service, given everything else your phone is doing but let's put the privacy angle aside.
Phone GPS is not consistently accurate, even outdoors. By allowing Google to use other signals, such as nearby wifi, cell towers, etc Google can provide a more consistent and accurate location for your device while also using less power.
Otherwise, answer hit "no". But I think it's worth questioning whether it's so frustrating when Google Maps assumes it can use Google Location Services.
That's the fact that Android hides a lot (even thousands a day) location requests as well as other types of requests from both Google's own apps as well as from third-party apps by routing them through the "Android OS" category in the battery usage stats. This way users are completely clueless about just how harmful these constant requests are to their battery life.
Android OS as well as Android System are two of the biggest eaters of battery life, and it's because of crap like that. My guess is Google doesn't want to show users exactly whose requests harm the battery the most because its apps are the biggest offenders (especially the ad-showing system).
I hope more people realize that this is going on and pressure Google into showing more detailed battery stats or at least assigning the location requests as well as other battery draining requests to the apps in question, rather than putting them all under the "Android OS" or "Android System" umbrella.
Honestly I wonder how anyone in tech doesnt know why google offers "free" services and pushes people towards their own non-private "solutions"
In other words, they're finding you even when you prefer not.
Also, (if you're on wifi) they presumably infer the location of anyone using the same public IP as you, whether or not they are using android and whether or not they disabled location tracking/gps on location tracking on their device.
The default rules may do more than you want (e.g fiddling with volume), but you can easily strip that back to just wifi control.
I have Cyanogen installed and it still does this, probably because of Google location services.
I think it was S. Yegge that said we turned the smartest brains into like-button developpers. :sigh!
at least 20 million dollars
I've become extremely privacy oriented ever since I started working here and saw how creepily companies track users.
Man the possibilities for fascism only get more and more exciting for future dictators.
Are you based in Germany? I interviewed at a German company doing exactly that.
Collecting this data requires specific opt-in, and the user can not give that by entering a store, but only if they sign a form, or agree with a specific checkbox in an app.
Due to that, I’d assume this would end up in court.
Please provide an anonymous tip to the Landesbeauftragten für Datenschutz in your state. Alternatively, send it to the https://www.datenschutzzentrum.de/ (they’re responsible for SH, but properly deal with PGP encrypted email, and can redirect them to the responsible agencies)
On the other hand, personally I would immediately stop shopping at stores that spied on customers like that.
Also your smart watch, i guess.
The author of the above page has a WiFi positioning demo app for iPhone and Android that uses those public databases - during my testing it was almost as accurate as GPS (even more so indoors) with instant results.
But in newer versions of Android (afaicr > 7.0) is no longer using an aggressive approach (visible to other devices), it just passively collect frames (https://plus.google.com/+mikekershaw/posts/DmpQ2no5bEk) so it's no longer an a privacy issue to have this option on those versions, still would recommend SWM to increase security.
There's a lot Android could do better in this area.
I wonder which is better - WiFi always on and location off, or location on and WiFi sometimes off?
But speaking on your questions... Location On, Wifi Off offers better security IMHO, specially in the case your phone gets stolen/lost you may at least use that information find it or at least report to the authorities it's location the trade-off is that google/nsa et al will always know your location but unless you are Snowden or paranoid, you probably wont mind.
Also in the latest version (at least on the Beta afaik) you can activate Wifi Scanning, which uses the passive/aggresive mechanism mentioned on the article to find out if you are near the AP and turn on your wifi.
TL;DR: when wifi is off, and the setting whose description reads "allow scanning when wifi is off" is turned off (not all softwares have this toggle available in the WiFi settings, it seems default-on) then it doesn't seem to send frames.
Go to takeout.Google.com to see what's in your personal dossier.
Just checked and my location timeline is blank after several years of this.
The one they show you is, at least. /cynic
- people change phones every year or two.
- OSS community can't keep up with driver support if they change every 6mo and are never documented, protected with NDA.
- big companies writing the OS make the older hardware obsolete on purpose.
- this forces people that don't want to change phones every year to do so. Back to step 1.
LineageOS seems to be doing OK (other than the terrible name).
> - big companies writing the OS make the older hardware obsolete on purpose.
Not writing the OS, writing the drivers and platform support (also known as the Board Support Package).
I can't find the article, but at some point there was a "cut-off" for devices like the Nexus 4, largely because Qualcomm didn't provide further updates.
"Plasma Mobile turns your phone into a fully open hacking device..."
I have a speech bot that pings my phone (find IP by ARP) and it speaks randomly on successful ping.
Sometimes, at night, I put my phone in airplane mode, and sometimes my bot still speaks.
Cellular transmissions are still technically prohibited, but I bet many people don't know how to turn on Wifi while in "airplane mode", so they don't use airplane mode.
Here's one such system:
In the US. Internationally they are permitted and several airlines offer GSM service in flight. 
How will they sell it if airplane mode doesn't allow wifi?
Android since 4.0 and IOS since 6 allow for this. Just enable wifi after airplane mode.
Settings -> Location -> Improve Accuracy -> Toggle Wi-Fi scanning.
on android 7 and 7.1:
settings > location > three vertical dots on the top right > scanning.
And on this screen disable wifi and bluetooth scanning.
And, you would think that would disable wifi/bt scanning, right? wrong!
on the previous screen (settings>location), you also have to click on "mode". And then select "Device only". If you select "high accuracy" or "battery saving", it will ignore the wifi off on the ellipsis menu and still use it!
And there is more! ...still on the location screens, scroll down. Past the "recent location requests" and see a section called "Location services". It might very well include a "Qualcomm izat accelerated location". What it does? well, nobody knows! does it enable wifi from sleep mode on the chip? it might. it might not. again, who knows?
If you want to be sure that your laptop camera isn't recording you, you have to put electric tape over it, if you want to make sure your mics on your devices aren't recording you then you have to physically block it.
This is a very complicated issue of reliability of kernel/compilers/hardware/etc. We are dependent on these layers telling us what "reality" is. But how reliable is it?
And interesting look into "trust".
> However, Wi-Fi scans are not only used by the device to derive its location, analytics companies now leverage the Wi-Fi probe requests to estimate the number of visitors in stores and malls and to record customer mobility. Indeed, by counting the number of unique MAC addresses broadcast in probe requests, retailers can derive the number of smartphone carriers in their store. Location tracking of these customers is performed by following these MAC addresses as they are heard by antennas located in different spots.
From a 2017 paper, https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.02874v1
> First, we show that devices commonly make improper use of randomization by sending wireless frames with the true, global address when they should be using a randomized address. We move on to extend the passive identification techniques of Vanhoef et al. to effectively defeat randomization in ~96% of Android phones. Finally, we show a method that can be used to track 100% of devices using randomization, regardless of manufacturer, by exploiting a previously unknown flaw in the way existing wireless chipsets handle low-level control frames.
and near the end of section 4.2
> Therefore we posit that much less than ∼50% of devices conduct randomization.
Think of it from the typical user's perspective: what would they think if disabling wifi suddenly made maps very innacurate? That sounds like the start of a bug report to me.
Everything doesn't have to be some big nefarious plan. Sometimes the sensible defaults for normal users don't align with privacy-conscious users.
>what would they think if disabling wifi suddenly made maps very innacurate?
Taking everything you said at face value.. So anything less than "more accurate" to you, means "very inaccurate" ?
If you're privacy-conscious enough to worry about this, you probably don't even have a facebook profile (or at least don't have it installed on your phone), and that by itself puts you squarely outside of normal.
Most people don't care. I'm sorry.
We don't have the right to invade their privacy despite their apathy.
That's what you and the other "level-headed" fella are normalizing: the idea that somehow being "a tech company" makes it okay for us to perform mass surveillance and manipulation on our fellow human beings. It's not okay. It's not okay if the people are ignorant of it, and it's still not okay even if they are just apathetic about it.
There should be a big ol' OPT IN button for tracking, right up front. If the user doesn't deliberately turn it on (and no fair offering incentives) then they don't get tracked.
(We are going to do it anyway, because they are literally too stupid to manage themselves, and they are too stupid to stop us.)
I'm actually in favor of total surveillance (I wrote a whole blog post a few years back about how it's the "perfection of Democracy".) What I'm against is the idea that it's fine to "trick" people into being scanned and tracked w/o their knowledge and explicit consent.
What we are witnessing is the formation of a split between Morlocks and Eloi. There's a de facto privileged group that benefits from the massive asymmetry in the data collection and analysis machinery, and the "normal people" who now form a digital peasantry and must be content with what we give them. Maybe this is the way it has to be.
I know this is possible for sure, the app "Wifi Analyzer" does it. As you can see on:
The only network related permission this app requests is "Wi-Fi connection information" so I'm wondering how they do it, and if it is possible to do so from a background service. I will like to run scans periodically and show up a notification once a predefined network is in-range.
Edit: OK, people greatly concerned do that. I don't even use the damn things. But I know what it takes to secure them.
Edit: I note that none of my VM hosts have integrated cellular and WiFi radios. And I seriously doubt that devices used in high-security commercial, government and military roles have such things. Maybe not even integrated Ethernet. Also, devices with modular cellular and WiFi radios could be produced in the consumer sector. Maybe they'd cost more, and only sell in niche markets, but it's doable.