Android should share the blame with Facebook for tracking calls and texts
Facebook’s users are looking a lot more closely at how much data the company holds on them after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which demonstrated how seemingly trivial Facebook apps could actually harvest huge amounts of personal information. Over the weekend, some users downloaded their data from Facebook, and they weren’t happy with how much the company knows about them. They found that Facebook’s Android apps tracked call and text data until Google deprecated the relevant Android API in October 2017. You can find out how to download your Facebook data here. Facebook has been the focus of subsequent headlines and blame. But Google, which created Android, arguably deserves more criticism.
Android has had a number of security scandals over the years, and its core functionality sometimes goes beyond consumers’ reasonable expectation of user privacy.
A good example was a Quartz investigation into how Android phones track nearby cellphone towers, then telegraphed that information home to Google — even when users had disabled location services. Theoretically, that data could reveal your location, even when you didn’t want to. Google eventually discarded cell tower data.
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