Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 21st Nov 2017 16:09 UTC

Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers - even when location services are disabled - and sending that data back to Google. The result is that Google, the unit of Alphabet behind Android, has access to data about individuals' locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy.

Quartz observed the data collection occur and contacted Google, which confirmed the practice.

The cell tower addresses have been included in information sent to the system Google uses to manage push notifications and messages on Android phones for the past 11 months, according to a Google spokesperson. The were never used or stored, the spokesperson said, and the company is now taking steps to end the practice after being contacted by Quartz. By the end of November, the company said, Android phones will no longer send cell-tower location data to Google, at least as part of this particular service, which consumers cannot disable.

Raise your hand if you're surprised.

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RE: [OT] Corporate doublespeak
by Iapx432 on Thu 23rd Nov 2017 16:55 UTC in reply to "[OT] Corporate doublespeak"
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The reason for Alphabet is that Google wants to buy or create other brands that are distinct from Google. If they left the corporate name as Google then the identity or mission of these brands would invariably be seen as a subset of the Google identity and mission, along with all the positive (pods to sleep in at work) and negative (spying on customers) that that entails. For example, Alphabet (as opposed to Google) could in theory buy or build a super private OS where employees work in a drafty warehouse in the middle on nowhere, with no wi-fi and bags over their heads as they get bussed to and from work. And people might even believe (or forget they they don't believe) it is true. It's far less likely people would believe Google would do that, even though deep down we would know it was Google. There is no magic wand to truly separate the investments from the origin in the Google case, but it is possible to show that intent and that intention impression is what the Alphabet strategy is trying to achieve. I agree with the comment in that the author of the article is trying (hopelessly) to make an intention a reality.

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