Google capturing same location data as Apple's iOS devices

It seems that Apple is not the only mobile phone company that has been grabbing data from users without them knowing. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Android smartphones are collecting the same kind of data as Apple has been recording on their iOS devices and then uploading the information back to Google.

Security analyst Samy Kamkar told the site that the HTC Android phone that he had been using has been grabbing location information and sending the data back to Google numerous times an hour, something the company allows users to opt-out of during setup. It also transmitted the name, location, and signal strength of Wi-Fi networks that were nearby, along with the phones unique identifier information.

This is not the first time that Google has been accused of recording data without the user knowing, the company had to deal with a major Wi-Fi privacy scandal last year when the company said that private data was being accidentally captured by rogue code left in its Street View vehicles.

Apple meanwhile, has been caught recording the position of your iPhone and 3G iPad devices ever since the release of iOS 4 in July 2010. They found that the devices save the position of your device in a hidden file named “consolidated.db” by means of recording the latitude-longitude coordinates with the addition of a timestamp.

Despite there being numerous reports stating that iOS devices were recording location data even as early as last year, privacy watchdogs have only just started to demand answers from Apple. Meanwhile, Google has chosen not to comment on the matter.

Update: An additional article on The Guardian website talks about how they believe both Apple and Google are now using their mobile devices to build up huge databases for location-based services. 

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Don't see the problem as it is opt out. If it still does it after you opt out then there I'd a problem. To me this article just sounds like someone trying to take the heat off apple by saying android too

Teebor said,
Don't see the problem as it is opt out. If it still does it after you opt out then there I'd a problem. To me this article just sounds like someone trying to take the heat off apple by saying android too

Don't really think the heat is on Apple or anybody else. Cell phone locations are logged by the phone companies even if you use a dumb phone and have been for many years.

I saw tracking logs of phones back in 1996

Yep its been going on for ages but it is just funny how this article arrives just after apple gets put in the limelight.
It's all a non-issue anyway if you actually pay attention to tos with your new phone anyway

Teebor said,
Don't see the problem as it is opt out. If it still does it after you opt out then there I'd a problem. To me this article just sounds like someone trying to take the heat off apple by saying android too

Agreed, seems like the Apple-centric media is trying to throw some of the heat off Apple by saying "everyone else does it to". My HTC phone has the option, its up to me to enable or disable it as I see fit. AFAIK the iOS tracking can't be disabled.

I don't mind that some sites and my cell company, which actually has a logical reason for having it, collect my location information but it bothers me that Apple, which has no real reason to have it, collects it. And its not just location, they too are collecting wifi info (and who knows what else).

How is this the same?

As has been pointed out its :-

"something the company allows users to opt-out of during setup"

Although i admit its creepy to gather this info at all - even with a users permission.

TheBlueRaja said,
How is this the same?

As has been pointed out its :-

"something the company allows users to opt-out of during setup"

Although i admit its creepy to gather this info at all - even with a users permission.

Then prepare to be super creeped out as your phone's location is recorded by the phone companies even on dumb phones....

I don't mind having my phone data sent to google to be thrown in a database as it's not really connected to me or my name. However, I do have an issue with my location data being stored in a file on my phone such as on ios4.

sask said,
I don't mind having my phone data sent to google to be thrown in a database as it's not really connected to me or my name. However, I do have an issue with my location data being stored in a file on my phone such as on ios4.

Well, it transmits the phones unique identifier, which surely is connected to your name...

With android you explicitly agree to it, as previously shown in comments. With iOS you also agree to it because it's worded in the ToS. The surprising thing is that iOS does it anyway, and with android you can opt-out. I wonder how the data is stored inside android devices.

I rather have google and apple be transparent about it. But from the get-go it was obvious that they are collecting that information to assist location services with info provided from WiFi signals.

"Google has been accused of recording data without the user knowing"
"the company allows users to opt-out of during setup"

Can't have it both ways.

Sending information about WiFi networks isn't a privacy issue, WiFi networks are used to approximate your location. It's not only GPS Satellites that can be used to estimate your position.

The only possible privacy issue here is the fact that it sends back the "phones unique identifier information" as Google claims that the information it sends back is anonymous.

Security analyst Samy Kamkar told the site that the HTC Android phone that he had been using has been grabbing location information and sending the data back to Google numerous times an hour, something the company allows users to opt-out of during setup.

This is not the first time that Google has been accused of recording data without the user knowing

mmmm, this article makes a lot of sense [/sarcasm]
This article fails miserably.

kiwi89 said,

mmmm, this article makes a lot of sense [/sarcasm]
This article fails miserably.

It's a sensationalist article (or title, at least).

Apple stores location data without asking or alerting the user. Google ONLY takes the data if you opt-in during setting up the phone.

kiwi89 said,

mmmm, this article makes a lot of sense [/sarcasm]
This article fails miserably.

Totally agree. Just another smear article to ruin Google's good name.

That's one reason why I like 'opensource software'
Using opensource, I will know all the time what the software does.
If I don't like it, I simply disable it.
**** tomtom and the others. I need my freedom.

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