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Custom ROM without location tracking?

Discussion in 'Android Roms' started by Pyryara, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. Pyryara
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    Pyryara New Member

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    Hello everyone,
    I'm completely new to this forum, smartphones, Android - a complete newbie. I do have a lot of technical knowledge though, plus quite a bit of general Linux knowledge.

    As you might remember, in April there was a lot of controversy about Google and Apple saving location data on their phones, as well as transmitting them to those companies. However, I was never able to find much detail on when, how and what information exactly is transmitted.

    In any case, I wonder if there is a possibility for the location tracking to be disabled via a custom firmware. From what I see, the only reason to *ever* send location data to Google is when the user explicitly requests this for the current location, e.g. when using Google Maps. The storage of past WiFi networks, GPS coordinates and/or mobile masts seems to make no sense at all, but seems to still be done on stock roms.

    Specifically, I've never had a smartphone, but Android sounds nice since it's Linux and might be fun to play around with, and because I suspect that Android phones are actually compatible for syncing with other Linux devices such as my Laptop. :p But yeah, I'm very much concerned about my privacy and was really alarmed by those news about location tracking. So: can location tracking be disabled completely, and what hack do I need for this?

    PS: Please, don't flame me if I'm misinformed. I know I might be - again, I'm a newb! Try telling me politely in that case. ;)
  2. tcrews
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    tcrews Premium Member Premium Member Developer

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    Having both an Android phone and an iPhone I can tell you a small difference between the two.

    The iPhone stored everything from the beginning of my activation of it. All GPS, Cell tower and WiFi sources my iPhone was in range long enough to see. From the beginning.

    My Droid only stores the data for about a week back and tomorrow it will be a week back from that day and so forth, continuously flushing out the old data and adding in the new.

    It bothered me more on the iPhone as it was all the data, all the time. Android was current to a week back.

    There is an app called Location Cache that will show you the info, allow you to wipe it and allow you to set it to never store......though you'll need ROOT access.

    https://market.android.com/details?id=ch.rrelmy.android.locationcachemap&feature=search_result
  3. Pyryara
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    Pyryara New Member

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    Thank you for your reply. While I agree that the location tracking seems "less bad" on Android at that point, this doesn't really make the whole thing much more attractive to me. When I use a piece of software, I don't want it to sent personal data without my explicit consent. If it works like in Firefox, where you have to explicitly accept every single usage of location-based services, it would be okay. As it stands, I suspect that none of the recorded data is actually needed for Android to work. But maybe I'm wrong there. If I'm correct though: I always thought that one of the reasons for rooting and using custom ROMs were there to remove unneeded clutter from the system, tweaking it so it does "what you want". I don't understand why any user on this planet should have an advantage by their location data being stored for a week and transmitted to Google. Therefore, I suspected that there was already a known way to remove this unwanted "feature". Is this not the case? EDIT: I should really, really learn to read. I missed the point where you wrote "set it to never store". ;) Will this also prevent Google from misusing my Android phone for wardriving (e.g. scanning WiFi networks, logging the GPS data, and sending them to Google)?
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