Google has made it impossible to prevent its Google Play app store from tracking your location at all times—unless you completely disable location tracking for every single app on your Android device, reports the Register. A security researcher discovered Play’s hardcore tracking ability after he walked into a McDonald’s and was prompted to download the store’s app. As the Register reports:
You can try to deny Google Play access to your handheld’s location by opening the Settings app and digging through Apps -> Google Play Store -> Permissions, and flipping the switch for “location.” But you’ll be told you can’t just shut out Google Play services: You have to switch off location services for all apps if you want to block the store from knowing your whereabouts. It’s all or nothing, which isn’t particularly nice. This is because Google Play services pass on your location to installed apps via an API. The store also sends your whereabouts to Google to process. Google doesn’t want you to turn this off.
So what can a privacy-couscous Android user do if they don’t want Google tracking their every move? The first option is to completely uninstall Google Maps and the Play Store app. The second option is to repeatedly turn your Android’s location services on and off as required throughout the day, says the Register. The third option is get an iOS device.
Even if you uninstall Google Maps, Google Play’s background service is tracking your location 24/7. pic.twitter.com/j8lPJtnyu9
— Mustafa Al-Bassam (@musalbas) September 12, 2016