So, Can You Really Prevent Google From Spying on You? 

Is it possible to prevent Google and other apps from snooping on you through your phone? 

Tech and Auto
2 min read

About a week ago, Fox News put out an investigative report that showed how Google is tracking your every move. They used two identical cell phones, with no sim cards in them, and with no Wi-Fi access either. One of the phones was put on airplane mode, while the other was just left as is.

Also read: Google Tracks Your Location Even When the GPS Is Switched Off

When they connected the phones back to a Wi-Fi network, they discovered that the phones had logged plenty of data and transmitted it straight to Google’s servers. This included accurate location access, and even activities such as walking or driving. Is that an invasion of privacy? Well, not quite. Because when you sign up for a Google account and don’t read through the fine print of Google’s privacy policy, you are signing up for such rights.

So does that mean Google can track your every move even if you don’t have a SIM card in your phone and even if it is not connected to a Wi-Fi network? The answer is YES, as many apps use location sharing – which leaves your phone’s GPS antenna on, even in airplane mode.

Turning it off will prevent apps from reporting a phone’s location – and you can easily do that from the settings on your phone.

Does that mean the phone is now not collecting any more data? No, it still is. You see, it’s not just the GPS – many high-end smartphones come with other sensors too, all of which record data like a gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, barometric sensors and temperature sensors. All the data is logged, and when the phone connects to a network again – BOOM – it’s off to Google or to whichever app requested the data.

Google uses this data to monitor behavior patterns or just to optimise connectivity for the phone to give the user a better experience. Other apps use this data to serve relevant ads. However, every single action seeks your permission – and that’s all there in the privacy policy or the permissions you give to apps – like can it access your microphone, camera or contacts.

So how can you truly go off the grid – well, sorry to say, the only way to absolutely not log any data is to turn the phone off, completely.

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