If you thought that by turning off location services on your Android phone meant that your location wasn’t reporting to any application, you have been lulled into a false sense of security (locationlessness?). Google has been collecting location data from cell towers that the phone connects to, and there isn’t a notification of this activity, so the user is left unaware.Google has said it is going to end this practice by the end of November, but there is no excuse for Google for leaving its users blind to this type of tracking.
There is a silver lining, sort of; Google is good at encrypting data that it collects in transit and at rest, and cell tower location data is kept separate from ordinary location data that is given to application developers and advertisers when locations services are turned on.
If you’re wondering if this behind-the-scenes location tracking could be exploited by hackers, you have little to worry about. For hackers to have access to this data, they would need to have malware on the device, but at that point, more detailed and valuable data is available to the hacker.