Your Android smartphone could be tracking your every move, even when location services are switched off, it has emerged.
Handsets running the Google-developed operating system collect information about where you have been, transmitting it back whenever they connect to the internet.
They continue to do so, even when there is no SIM card inserted or apps running, it is claimed.
The finding raises worrying privacy concerns over the gathering of such detailed location data.
As part of an in-depth investigation for Quartz, it was discovered that, since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby mobile transmitter towers
Knowing the location of one nearby cell tower is not enough to identify the specific location of a handset, and it’s user.
But by using data from multiple towers, a location can be triangulated within about a quarter-mile radius.
This becomes even more precise in built up areas like cities.
Although the data sent is encrypted, a third party could make use of it if the handset has been infected with spyware, malware or other hacking tools.
Every handset also has a unique ID number that can be associated with the location data.
Location-sharing does not appear to have been limited to a particular brand of Android phone or tablet.