According to a recent report by the EFF, you Android smartphone could possibly be broadcasting your location history, and it appears to be affecting Android devices which are less than three years old.
The EFF has said that when your handset is not connected to a WiFi network, there is a possibility that the device may be broadcasting your location history to anyone within WiFi range, more details from the EFF below.
This location history comes in the form of the names of wireless networks your phone has previously connected to. These frequently identify places you’ve been, including homes (“Tom’s Wi-Fi”), workplaces (“Company XYZ office net”), churches and political offices (“County Party HQ”), small businesses (“Toulouse Lautrec’s house of ill-repute”), and travel destinations (“Tehran Airport wifi”). This data is arguably more dangerous than that leaked in previous location data scandals because it clearly denotes in human language places that you’ve spent enough time to use the Wi-Fi. Normally eavesdroppers would need to spend some effort extracting this sort of information from the latititude/longitude history typically discussed in location privacy analysis. But even when networks seem less identifiable, there are ways to look them up.
Google has responded to the EFF’s report, and the company is apparently looking into the issue, you can see an official response from Google below.
“We take the security of our users’ location data very seriously and we’re always happy to be made aware of potential issues ahead of time. Since changes to this behavior would potentially affect user connectivity to hidden access points, we are still investigating what changes are appropriate for a future release.”
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