I've been watching you
Even if you've had location services turned off on your Android phone, Google knows where you've been. Quartz reported Tuesday that for nearly a year, Android phones have been sending the location of nearby cell towers to Google even when location services are disabled and there is no SIM card in the phone.
By collecting relevant cell phone tower data, Google can identify an Android user's location within a certain range. And while it might seem comforting that Google doesn't know your exact location, Quartz notes that every time you pass a cell phone tower and are using cellular data or WiFi, your Android phone sends identifying data to Google. This may not happen as frequently in big sky country, but people living in cities are far more likely to pass by cell phone towers multiple times per day.
Google confirmed to Quartz that it had collected Android user data by analyzing the location of nearby cell towers, but stressed that it did so to send Android users push notifications and messages. In an email, a Google spokesperson added, "We never incorporated Cell ID into our network sync system, so that data was immediately discarded, and we updated it to no longer request Cell ID." Reassuring!