Your Android Device May Be Telling the World Where You’ve Been

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Android OS WiFi

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has warned that a feature in Android smartphones and tablets that lets your device stay connected to WiFi hotspot when the display is off may also be broadcasting your location history to anyone within Wi-Fi range that wants to listen. Here is the core of the problem, as stated on the EFF website:

This location history comes in the form of the names of wireless networks your phone has previously connected to. These frequently identify places you’ve been, including homes (“Tom’s Wi-Fi”), workplaces (“Company XYZ office net”), churches and political offices (“County Party HQ”), small businesses (“Toulouse Lautrec’s house of ill-repute”), and travel destinations (“Tehran Airport wifi”). This data is arguably more dangerous than that leaked in previous location data scandals because it clearly denotes in human language places that you’ve spent enough time to use the Wi-Fi.

According to EFF, all Mac OS and some Windows desktops/laptops suffer the same issue and need to be fixed. The EFF statement also mentions that Google has been notified and have responded that they are investigating the issue.

What Can You Do?

In the meantime, you can try to bypass this issue by setting your Android device to not keep WiFi on during sleep. On your device, go to”Settings -> “Advanced WiFi” -> “Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep” and set that option to “Never”. EFF says that this will increase power and data consumption on your device though.

Or you can just damn the whole scare and not bother who gets to find out where you have been. You are not a secret service agent, a celebrity, a billionaire, a robber, or a fugitive, after all 😉

You should read the full details from the EFF website: Is Your Android Device Telling the World Where You’ve Been?

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