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Using Google to track location

Discussion in 'Google' started by Benny101, Mar 3, 2020.

  1. Benny101

    Benny101 Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Hi I've read about Apps that can track a person's location without them knowing
    What id like to know is can this be done or is it a scam

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  2. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    If you can install spyware on the other person's phone then of course it's possible: all that's needed is an app that has location access plus internet access so it can report the person's location (and you can't deny internet access because that blocks ads. It's all the fault of those people who aren't prepared to pay for software which means that most apps are ad-supported instead). Of course the trick is getting such an app onto the other person's phone without them suspecting, which generally requires physical access too the phone. Real spyware tends to go to some lengths to disguise itself so that the victim doesn't spot the app on the device.

    But if someone else has access to your Google account and you leave "location history" enabled (and Google want people to leave every sort of tracking enabled) then they can track your location that way (as well as do other bad things). So you should always enable two-factor authentication, check your account and deny access to any devices you don't recognise, and review what data you allow Google to keep a record of (it's worth noting that Google can still track the movements of people who turn location history off if they leave the app history recording on, since that also tells them where many apps are used).
    MrJavi, Dannydet and Steven58 like this.
  3. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    It is not too far a stretch to call all Google apps spyware.

    Google has been busted several times for disregarding the user's personal settings about tracking everything, including location.

    Making sure that the device's location services are off- all of them- and then ensuring that they stay that way after any restart/reboot is most important.

    Using 3rd party apps that are FOSS is also important. These apps usually have no interest in finding you, ie. if they know then it is because you told them. Often these apps don't care, they need the info to provide service- like GPS, maps, local attractions, etc.

    There are many ways that your location is being tracked by your phone.

    Accuracy varies by method, but if you are using cell service they know what tower you are connected to.

    With Wi-Fi, the system you are using is visable. The IP address shows an approximate location, they know what internet service is being used (who knows what you are doing on line), and your browser gives out info like your device, OS, and other identifiers that can be used to show that you made a specific search from here using this device.

    VPN services, TOR, and such things can help- but where there is a will, there is a way- and you can be located.

    Modern cellphones even have an 'emergency location' feature for in case you call 911 and get disconnected they can track the device.

    This can be turned off, but these settings are buried and hard to find.
    And some devices reset all these when they get restarted or rebooted.

    So yes, you are basically walking around with a tracking device that stores and records your position and travels.
    And you are doing this willingly, and paying for it with your money.
    It's all right there in that TL/DR agreement that we all agree to because we want the convenience of these phones.

    So turn off device location, go into your app settings and disable location permissions from apps, double check your location, sharing, and other similar settngs inside Google.

    Be careful disabling location permissions from system apps, as you can make your phone not work properly anymore.

    Of course, these apps that must have location permission on in order for your phone to work are known by- if not made by- Google themselves.
    So they could use these apps to get the information that they want anyway.
    Even GBoard, the Google keyboard, keeps what you type, and sends it off to be stored and analysed.

    You can restricf internet access to apps like this by using a firewall, but that firewall must run all the time, constantly.
    It must restart itself when you turn the phone off and back on again.

    I use a firewall, one that I have used for a long while.
    Usually it is very reliable.

    But just last night, I noticed that the icon was off in the status bar.
    WTH, I thought as I opened the app and restarted it.

    I have no idea how long it was off or how much info got sent to who or to who knows where.
    MrJavi, Dannydet and Steven58 like this.
  4. Dannydet

    Dannydet Extreme Android User

    Facebook has a friend tracker option also... It will tell you exactly where they are
    puppykickr and MrJavi like this.
  5. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member

    Are you interested in doing that to someone, or wondering if someone is doing it to you? Knowing that would help a lot.

    There are 'family tracker' apps, such as Life360, that can do a vast amount of tracking--but I don't know if they're able to do so covertly.

    Explaining why you're asking would really help!
  6. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member

    MrJavi likes this.
  7. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    Well your carrier has records of your location simply by triangulating your phone via the cell towers it automatically connects to as you travel around, so as far as that aspect it's not an app installed on your phone, nor is Google involved at all. It's just a basic function your phone provides you that the carriers take advantage of. Turn on Airplane mode and that should disable WiFi, cellular, and Bluetooth connectivity if you really want your phone to be invisible. Remove your SIM card too if you want to go to extremes. Of course that takes away a lot of benefits of even having a smartphone so there is that to consider.

    But if you're thinking just anyone can track you just because they feel like it, than no. That's just melodrama from TV and movies. If someone is actually targeting you specifically however, that is a different situation. But they can't just magically install some kind of spyware app on your phone remotely, that's something that needs to be done when they have actual physical possession of your phone without any supervision -- they need to a) crack the lock screen (in a way you don't later notice), b) manually install some kind of spyware app, and c) set it up properly (so it's not obviously detectable) and configured properly (set to communicate with whatever remote tracking source). So it's not a trivial thing to do. Basically, make sure you have a lock screen enabled and don't let other people just borrow your phone unless you can keep an eye on it.
    puppykickr likes this.

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