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Google GPS grab felt like a feature, was actually a bug

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Face it, Citizen.

You're pwned.

Until you hit the off button, that is...and remove the battery...and always use cash. No, we won't be suspicious of you if you do this...how silly.

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remove the battery

Rarely an option nowadays. Removable/replaceable batteries seem a thing of the past.

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Planned obsolescence and forced upgrades march forward in lockstep,

On, on, into the bright and glorious future.

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Pretty sure I could remove the battery from my iPhone - not so sure I could get it back in...

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Just buy an older phone? Like a Nokia 3310? Actually most Nokia's up until Microsoft's takeover had removable batteries.

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Big Brother

If you look closely, a number of modern phone batteries have built in RFID, for that always tracked feeling.

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> have built in RFID, for that always tracked feeling.

Do you mean the NFC antenna that, e.g., Samsung put onto some of their batteries? The antenna that exists to let *you* use the NFC functionality (at your discretion)?

http://www.snopes.com/samsung-microchip/

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Batteries

"Rarely an option nowadays. Removable/replaceable batteries seem a thing of the past."

But not to LG, who seem to make them a positive feature right down to the little charger+battery accessory they supply.

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Only criminals use cash

The Canadian government position is, and has been for some time, that only criminals use cash. That is why they removed the $1000 bill from circulation and that is why depositing cash (even as little as a few thousand dollars) into a bank is consider suspicious, worthy of reporting, and opening a file on the cash user.

We're more pwned than we can imagine.

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Facepalm

The old tin box to the rescue

Simples...

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Re: Only criminals use cash

Canada was just following the lead of the US. They pulled bills larger than $100 out of circulation like 50 years ago, and for a long time have been requiring banks to alerts to deposits of over $10K in cash. Since a lot of people were getting around that by depositing just under $10K, they now report on smaller amounts. I don't think it is set in stone but reportedly closer to $5000 now.

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Re: Removable/replaceable batteries seem a thing of the past.

Just make sure your phone is wearing the tinfoil hat instead of you.

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Re: Only criminals use cash

More and more countries are imposing maximum limits to any cash purchases, e.g. the French limit is €1,000. It won't be long until the UK follows suit.

Who wants cash....the people.

Who doesn't want cash.....the government, the banks, the acquirers, the security services, PSPs, etc..

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Anonymous Coward

Dear Google,

You're not featuring me.

You're bugging me.

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Anonymous Coward

"You're bugging me."

Non-native English speaker here, but isn't the word "buggering"?

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Re: "You're bugging me."

Depends. IMO, both variants are valid in this case...

As to the article: okay, I'll accept that this was a cockup. But that doesn't mean I trust them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "You're bugging me."

Attribution

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Hmm, except that it sounds like if location services is turned on then Play Services would log your position and pass it back to Google.

Google need to know where people are to i) do location aware adverts ii) make the traffic overlay on Google Maps work. A pernicious Catch 22 for Android users; if they all turn off location services then traffic data on Google maps is not going to be useful.

Once upon a time such perniciousness would be cause for government intervention and a forced company break up.

Other companies do it differently. BlackBerry teamed up with TomTom, who get their traffic data from a variety of sources. They've a deal with Vodafone to get aggregated location data derived from base station tracking of mobiles, some TomToms have a 3g modem in them so can report home, and I think they also use companies like Traffic Master. Just as acquisitive? Maybe, but then TomToms don't show ads to you whilst your driving or once you've got there. Anyway, TomTom's traffic data seems to be much more dynamic than Googles.

I'm slightly puzzled why Apple haven't bought TomTom. Apple's own mapping is slightly rubbish, TomTom have a lot of map data, an excellent and complete service and, these days, a pretty good range of hardware. Their maps aren't quite global (not Japan for example), but that could be fixed with some cash that Apple could throw in for the purpose.

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I'm slightly puzzled why Apple haven't bought TomTom. Apple's own mapping is slightly rubbish,

Probably wouldn't do much good, since TomTom provide the basic mapping data for Apple devices already. Apple sprinkle over their magic fairy dust combine this with data from other sources, to make their maps richer, and therein lies the problem.

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"Probably wouldn't do much good, since TomTom provide the basic mapping data for Apple devices already."

Aha, now that I didn't know. I thought they'd gone to Open Street map, and erroneously assumed that'd gone no further. I wonder, did they buy data from TomTom after moving to Open Street Map? There was a time when iPhones didn't know where whole towns in Australia were.

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There was a time when iPhones Google didn't know where whole towns cities in Australia were.

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There was a time when no-one outside Australia knew where Australia was!

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Trollface

There was a time when nobody knew Australia even existed!!!

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tom tom used to sell users data to the cops years ago. don't know if they still do, I stopped using them.

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Possibly because TomTom gets their mapping data from the late 19th Century.

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@bazza "Just as acquisitive? Maybe, but then TomToms don't show ads to you whilst your driving or once you've got there."

I would really like to see proof of this. I have never seen an ad when using Google Maps for navigation or at the end of the route. If you're just making stuff up then I'd ask, why? You only make your other points less valid.

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Anonymous Coward

Syntax error

@Doctor Syntax - I think you're confusing Google with Microsoft.

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@cantankerous swineherd

According to TomTom this is a myth and never happened...

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x 7
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I prefer not to admit the existence of a country that can produce something as vomit inducing as Fosters

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Anonymous Coward

I thought it was well established that most Australians themselves don't give a Castlemaine XXXX about Fosters' Amber Pi.. er, "Nectar" anyway, and that this was all just marketing towards gullible foreigners.

Doubt most of it is even brewed there anyway.

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Thumb Down

Fosters - Australia's joke on the world...

Us drink it? Not on your life...

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Exactly...

I'd like someone to explain how a TomTom device that has a GPS receiver can display Ads?

One poster said that some TomToms have a 3g modem inside.

Simple question then

Who pays the 3G bill? I certainly don't and would never do so.

And

Why do I need to connect my TomTom to my PC in order to update the maps if it has 3g capabiity?

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Re: Exactly...

@steve,

not every single tomtom has a 3g modem inside. Only the models featuring HD-live or HD-traffic have such a modem. And you paid for the data connection when you bought the thing. The rest of the upkeep is paid for by TomTom (since it's 2 way traffic and TomTom benefits from it I don't see why they shouldn't. Its only limited amounts of data so i'd be surprised if most Nav units featuring this send more than maybe a few hundred MB in their lifetime). I believe some of the units featuring live traffic updates also required quite a hefty monthly extortion payment membership fee to use it.

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Megaphone

Re: Exactly...

imanidiot yes.

To get traffic reports I'd have to subscribe to a bundle of stuff I do not want, called "Live services" £50 a year for Europe. (Not just UK). Maybe useful if you're travelling around a lot. We're not. I'd happily pay £10, even £15.for just the UK traffic reports. But beyond that, year on year it's just not worth it to us, for the odd journey up the motorway.

Quote;

LIVE Services Europe

Real-time services in one bundle

Get there faster with TomTom Traffic

Drive with the latest speed camera locations

Know the weather ahead

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Anonymous Coward

> There was a time when nobody knew Australia even existed!!!

You're exaggerating. It's pretty famous for its classical music scene, and starting two world wars.

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FAIL

Google also had a spokesperson point out to us that since Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) it has offered users "the ability to disable a specific application’s permission to obtain location, including Google Maps and Google Play."

Doesn't work for Google Play Services .... I get prompted as such

Attention - Google Play Services is a provider of location services for this device. Location access can be modified from location settings - Click ok / location services.

Clicking location services shows location requests by google play services.

So I click on Google Play Services and click permissions. Oh look ... Your Location is turned on.

So I click to turn of location services and get prompted.

Attention - Google Play Services is a provider of location services for this device. Location access can be modified from location settings - Click ok / location services.

Hang on ... Didn't I just do that ? Google is sending me round in a circle here.

So I call horseshit on their assertion you can disable a specific app permissions. Maybe works for non-Google apps but for their own app it's a fail.

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Play is the store app.

Play Services is a support framework, one job it does is mediating access to location to prevent multiple clients hammering the underlying GPS & Wi-Fi hardware. It's meant to reduce battery use. You really want a warning about disabling it.

On Android they're both apps, someone thought they should both be in the app location permission list but took the trouble to add that warning and the confusing ok option. On my phone the location settings button takes me to location settings and happily let me disable them. Be more sensible to not list it with apps perhaps.

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Anonymous Coward

So I call horseshit on their assertion you can disable a specific app permissions. Maybe works for non-Google apps but for their own app it's a fail.

Given that the sole purpose of anything that Google does is to grab more data from people, preferably unnoticed, I would venture that is not a coincidence, nor surprising..

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But GooglePlay Services is not an app, it's an essential part of the OS! You know, like IE is an essential part of the OS and you can't remove it.

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"But GooglePlay Services is not an app"

It is an app. Permissions can be granted and it can be disabled.

Disabling it will likely break a lot of other apps.

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Anonymous Coward

> Disabling it will likely break a lot of other apps.

Not that I've seen. I don't have it (it's not installed at all) and the phone works just fine, including location stuff.

For non-GPS location, I use one of the replacement frameworks available on F-Droid, which also have the advantage of being 100% off-line.

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OK. I think you enlightened me and maybe a few others.

Google Play Store ≠ Google Play Services

I always wondered why the frickin store needed so much to work, and felt abused.

Now, that I realize they are two separate programs I can accept the abuse a lot easier.

IMO Google needs to change the name to just Google Services and people will give them a lot less crap.

And since I'm giving Google free tips. How about the option to select which permission is OK with you during the installation process, and not afterwards once the permission has already been obtained? It seems like "we'll look for the thief after he gets in and kick him out", instead of stopping him at the door.

Marshmallow is better than Lolipop, but it's still not good enough.

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OK. I think you enlightened me and maybe a few others.

Google Play Store ≠ Google Play Services

I always wondered why the frickin store needed so much to work, and felt abused.

Now, that I realize they are two separate programs I can accept the abuse a lot easier.

IMO Google needs to change the name to just Google Services and people will give them a lot less crap.

And since I'm giving Google free tips. How about the option to select which permission is OK with you during the installation process, and not afterwards once the permission has already been obtained? It seems like "we'll look for the thief after he gets in and kick him out", instead of stopping him at the door.

Marshmallow is better than Lolipop, but it's still not good enough.

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Think it through....

The phrase "Google Play....(anything)" is just pure obfuscation and marketing crap. It means sod all while being frothy, reassuring and fun sounding.

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Netguard is your friend

Having found that for the last 2 months, Play Store was chewing through my data in the background (without me doing anything, having all updates turned off, etc. it was still chewing between 10-100Mb per day!) I installed Netguard, had it block all attempts of Play Store and all the other Google apps to access the internet, my data usage has dropped massively. My phone is faster and all is happy with the world again... :P

I wished I'd known about programs like Netguard months ago, could have saved myself so many problems... And sorry if this sounds like an advertisement, its not! I'm not associated with Netguard in any way shape or form, just happy that it saved me so much and know blocks any attempt from Google to get access to my data! :)

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Re: Netguard is your friend

Shhh! Google will banish it as an inappropriate application if they get to hear of this...

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Re: Netguard is your friend

"Shhh! Google will banish it as an inappropriate application if they get to hear of this..."

There's always F-droid: https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdid=eu.faircode.netguard

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it's certainly not a new thing.

At least I suspect as much since I've had a couple of Xperia phones start to really chew through the battery and labeling play services as the culprit every time (this was when using songs stamina mode which kills net and GPS when the screens off). They always came back saying they're aware but needed Google to fix it.

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"The Reg understands that Google accepts..."

Why is this bit worded in the same style as a lawyer answering a claim? Has El Reg been ordered to print a correction or is this just copied from a Google statement written by their legal team?

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Anonymous Coward

re. the Reg understands

methinks it's sceptic sarcasm, often used by newsspeak to mean: we've been told, but don't believe a word of it, or have strong doubts, at least. But can't say that openly, because we can't afford the best lawyers on the planet, as they already work for one well-known worldwide corp, nudge nudge, wink wink, know what I'm saying...

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