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Android Track location also.

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by longshot, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. longshot

    longshot Well-Known Member
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    Got this from the internet earlier:

    Android Phones Track Your Location, Too

    I searched for these 2 files using root explorer and found them and opened them as text. Still don't understand what it all means alot gibberish. Assume that some of it is time stamps and gps coordinates. Think it would be nice to see exactly what tower you are running off of and if you are having data issue or voice could pinpoint which tower you are running off of.
     

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  2. longshot

    longshot Well-Known Member
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  3. RiverOfIce

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    It is common on all cellphones to keep the last 50 or so tower calls. The reason is simple, if the phone knows that a tower is near, it can directly call that tower and not mindlessly search for one that is not there. If the tower is not found, a data record of the location would stop the phone from mindlessly searching for a tower that is not there.

    PRL and other information do provide this, but tower load and signal strentght need to be stored on the cellphone side. To remove this feature would create disruptions in the usability of the phone and cause the battery to drain quicker.

    Bottom line. It is something that all cellphones do. To store the cell site and usability of the cell tower greatly increases the usability and reliability of your phone.

    Apple seems to take it to an extreme, but for the same reasons. Network reliability.

    If you are so worried about being tracked by your cellphone usage, then please get a pay as you go phone and recycle it every 3 weeks.
     
  4. longshot

    longshot Well-Known Member
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    Not worried about the tracking, actually was more interested in finding which tower I use from my home.

    Anyone know how to do this via the website I linked to on the second post? I tried the terminal emulator but when I try the parse.py it says cannot find the file, even though I have it in the directory where the cache.cell file is as well.
     
  5. ianr

    ianr Android Enthusiast
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    There are free apps in the marketplace that will tell you which cell tower you are using and plot the location on a map for you, I used one but don't remember the name.

    As for parse.py, you may need to call it as ./parse.py on a linux box as most don't have the current directory in the executable search path as it's a security risk. Also if you've not marked it as executable it may not run it. Finally the first line of the file might need editing to reflect the path of your python executable.

    When I parsed my file, the data went back less than 4 days, not until the time I bought the phone as is the case on the iphone. It's also not copied off the phone apparently, and to read it you have to root the phone which in my case needs the phone to be wiped first, erasing the file.
     
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  6. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Android Expert
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    That has been going on for quite a while. I remember seeing info about towers and tracking 10 years ago. I know most people don't, but I do turn off my phone if I'm in an area where reception is non-existent or lousy. If you go through a mountain pass, reception is likely to be very flaky. If you off-road in canyons, no reception. Since I turned the phone off, literally, someone could tell I started on the Front Range, and wound up on the Western Slope, with no idea of how I got there. So much for tracking.
     
  7. jroc

    jroc Android Expert
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    ^I do the same sometimes at work Reception there is bad. I use Airplane Mode. Would that be similar?
     
  8. sonofaresiii

    sonofaresiii Android Enthusiast
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    Yeah! I was going to come in and suggest this. It's a staple for New Yorkers to pull out their cellphones and hit airplane mode when you're walking into a subway. It's one of the (many) ways we can tell natives from tourists ;)
     
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  9. KENNECTED

    KENNECTED Android Expert
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    Really? I'm a New Yorker and I don't do that.
     
  10. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Android Expert
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    Older phones didn't have airplane mode, and battery could get hot from searching. And I don't need GPS. US 50 only goes in a certain direction and you will wind up in Montrose just by staying on the highway if that's where you are going.
     
  11. KENNECTED

    KENNECTED Android Expert
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    My blackberry 9700 had airplane mode and I never used it.
     
  12. sonofaresiii

    sonofaresiii Android Enthusiast
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    "Airplane mode" is the standard catchall term I use now for shutting off the signal. It's been a LONG time since I've had a phone where I couldn't turn off the signal, but calling it "airplane mode" and doing it all at once is fairly recent.


    Buddy, you need to start because those subways are killing your battery if your signal's on.
     
  13. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert
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    Assuming you have to sign on the permissions you see with Settings > Location and Security, Use Wireless Networks will let the tracker use wireless base stations and internet IP numbers to track you.

    However, both methods truly have a large margin for error, which can be as much as the radius range of the base tower transmission. That's pretty imprecise.

    Please note, if Wifi is turned on, and the device is connected to the internet via Wifi, the phone stops using base station triangulation and location data is based on reading the IP numbers. Alone that can be pretty inaccurate. i live in a Pacific Island but using this method, I can be located in Santa Monica Desert for some reason.

    To get much more precision tracking you need to turn on GPS, which is the second option on Location & Security but:

    1. Android users are always saving on battery anyway, and rarely turn GPS unless they are navigating.

    2. You don't get GPS indoors.

    3. If your phone is having GPS issues, like some Galaxy S, you need to pass on. This is the least of your concerns for the obvious reason.
     
  14. longshot

    longshot Well-Known Member
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    How exactly did you type the command? Do I need to load the file on something else bedsides the terminal emulator?
     
  15. novox77

    novox77 Leeeroy Jennnkinnns!
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    Can't say for sure, but I don't have those files in the location specified, and I think it's because I opted out of location-based services. I have definitely turned on GPS and used it for Navigation, so... i think the files are removed if you disable the checkbox for location services...

    meanwhile on the iPhone side of the story, disabling location services does not stop the tracking.
     

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