SCARY! Click Here to View Your Google Location History

I decided to test the Google Location History feature over the course of a month. It did correctly identify that I spent time in Florida then flew to the North East.

I decided to test the Google Location History feature over the course of a month. It did correctly identify that I spent time in Florida then flew to the North East.

Google Location History Page:
https://maps.google.com/locationhistory/b/0

The surveillance state in America has become so brazen that Google will even show you your complete location history as recorded on your Android phone. Log into the Gmail account that is connected to your phone, then hit the link above. If you have turned on either GPS or network based location, Google will show you exactly where you have been for the last month.

Well, kinda.

The problem came when I clicked into the data to take a closer look at where I had been. It showed me going all over the state to places I have never been.  If you look closely it even has me either flying over or walking over Lake Okeechobee.

The problem came when I clicked into the data to take a closer look at where I had been. It showed me going all over the state to places I have never been. If you look closely it even has me either flying over or walking over Lake Okeechobee.


If you allowed your phone to use the network identification feature, Google will most likely tell you that you have been a lot of places that you haven’t. The reason is simple. GPS doesn’t always work, especially indoors at all, so in order to capture your location Google offers that secondary network based location. Your phone is constantly scanning for networks, and those that it identifies, it catalogs with the nearest coordinate address it can garner from the GPS on your phone (when you go back outside), as well as the Google Maps cars that roam the streets and take pictures of all of our front doors.

The problem occurs when you match a network name like “Linksys” or “Home,” of which there are thousands all over the country. Google apparently logs every instance of that network name around a location it knows you were at because of a unique name. So if it picks up a network called “TheHadleyHouse111MainSt” and then “livingroom” (a very common home network name), Google Location Services will show you as visiting every house that has a network called “livingrooom” within a given radius of the network called “TheHadleyHouse111MainSt,” even though the next one it picks up is right next door.

On close examination, your Android phone is tracking you based on two things, GPS and network based locations. If you are near a network with a very common network name, like "Home" or "Linksys," the Google Location History will place you simultaneously at all of the networks of that name within a given radius, even if your GPS is telling the phone that you were never there.  If you drill down the menu on the left, the location can have you a great distances from minute to minute. This is more a commentary on relying on technology for safety and convenience than it is about privacy.  I can delete this Sarasota location in my front facing history, but all that does is tell Google to report to the "authorities" that I am trying to cover up "that I was in Sarasota for 2 minutes" on this day. The abuses of this technology will unfold in front of us over the years to come, so hold onto your hat!

On close examination, your Android phone is tracking you based on two things, GPS and network based locations. If you are near a network with a very common network name, like “Home” or “Linksys,” the Google Location History will place you simultaneously at all of the networks of that name within a given radius, even if your GPS is telling the phone that you were never there. If you drill down the menu on the left, the location can have you a great distances from minute to minute. This is more a commentary on relying on technology for safety and convenience than it is about privacy. I can delete this Sarasota location in my front facing history, but all that does is tell Google to report to the “authorities” that I am trying to cover up “that I was in Sarasota for 2 minutes” on this day. The abuses of this technology will unfold in front of us over the years to come, so hold onto your hat!


If you turn off the network location services and just use the GPS, the Location History page is much more accurate, but still not perfect, especially if you keep your phone sometimes in a pocket or purse.

If you leave both the GPS and network locations on, Google will still say you visited distance networks, even though the GPS told it that you never went there.

How scary is that? Because even if you are still among the fools who brazenly declare “I’ve got nothing to hide I don’t care if they track me,” Google can now be used a modicum of proof that you were somewhere that you were not, as evidenced by your own phone.

The implications of this are staggering when you sit and think about it. Can you imagine being arrested and brought to court on a trumped up charge, defended by a public defense attorney.

“Your Honor, my client doesn’t have the money for an expert that will testify as to the technology Google is mis-using for their Location History. My client says he wasn’t there and that there must be a matching network name to somewhere he was within the radius of the location.”

“What are you mumbling about counselor?” Clink. Bye.

A bigger picture of this is not that Google should fix the code that prioritizes the network names over the GPS history. It also isn’t really that Google should not be storing your history. If you lose your phone and history is on, you’ll be able to track where your phone is even if it is in the trunk of a car (because the radio waves from the network permeate the trunk, but GPS signals do not). If you aren’t cheating on your significant other and you aren’t in the shadow government working on the next false flag attack, who cares where you went this week?

The point is that is that the convenience of technology can and most likely will be abused by things that we don’t intend to use it for. A little bit of code at Google could put someone in jail. What would similar errors and misleading features in smart guns do? Think about what a “bio-trigger” would do to you when the technology is cracked so that someone else can fire your weapon without cutting off your hand. Technology is a great convenience, yes. But the risks should be considered before making them a part of our lives.

Does Google still track you when you turn off all of your location services? The better question is does Google send a notification to the shadow government when you turn off your location services, and then track and send your coordinates constantly, by design. Nothing is what we are being told anymore. This is the time of reverse think. This is how great civilizations crumble.

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • RBiggs September 19, 2014, 11:18 am

    Actually Google is much better at letting you know your privacy is being compromised. Like others have said, on an Android device you can simply shut off the GPS, and decline the location services Google offers. You can do the same with an Apple iPhone, but shutting off your GPS on an iPhone disables most apps, making the phone useless.
    I use a Samsung Galaxy running Google Android 4.4.2. When I go to the google location history, it says I have none.

    This is not the case with Apple. Your location history data is kept by Apple on 98% of the iPhones, which includes international phones.

    • RBiggs September 19, 2014, 1:28 pm

      I just tested turning on GPS (android phone). A window pops up and says:

      “Allow Google’s location service to collect anonymous location data. Some data may be stored on your device. Collection may occur even when no apps are running” click “Disagree or Agree”. I clicked “disagree” and drove down to Home Depot and back and checked my location history. Came up blank “no location history”.

      But that doesn’t mean that location history isn’t stored somewhere, it just isn’t displaying it on the google location history website. I would like to believe Google isn’t collecting that data, but I don’t trust them, or any other service like Apple or Microsoft.

      If you own a GM vehicle equipped with “On Star”, then your vehicle has a GPS unit built in to it, and it is ON, whether or not you have a subscription.

  • TexasScout September 16, 2014, 1:39 pm

    You have no location history for September 16, 2014

    Or any other day for that matter…

  • Russ September 16, 2014, 1:30 am

    Shallow minds have no concept of depth.
    It’s ok, sorry to have disturbed you.
    Tilt your heads back down and enjoy your smart phones.
    All’s well. “Have a nice day”

  • Eric September 15, 2014, 9:33 pm

    You should do some research before you publish this type if information. Network based location has nothing to do with home routers.

    • Administrator September 15, 2014, 9:46 pm

      Yes it does. People think that it is a triangulation from the cell towers but it isn’t entirely, if at all. Google admitted years ago that the Google map car is logging and trying to access networks constantly, and that is where the granular network information in part comes from.

      • RBiggs September 19, 2014, 11:32 am

        Admin is correct. Wifi can help triangulate. No where near as accurate as a cell tower and GPS, But they can tell what cities your in when your phone attempts connections to the routers as you drive past, by simply applying IP addresses. Just because you can’t connect to a router that is password protected, doesn’t mean your phone can’t see the router IP number. Thus IP number = Location.

  • Ryan September 15, 2014, 3:20 pm

    I keep my GPS, Moble Data, and Wifi off except when I need to use it,(mostly to save battery life) but more importantly I don’t let Google keep me logged in and report on my activities, auto facebook activity update etc. If your really afraid of people tracking, you read the agreements your agreeing to on apps and online, They have to have your permission.

    • RBiggs September 19, 2014, 11:35 am

      “I keep my GPS, Moble Data, and Wifi off”…… Your phone is still pinging cell towers, unless you power it off.

      • Oldefarte January 19, 2017, 9:38 am

        That is something that people simply do not understand – turning “off” a system on an electronic device may or may not actually turn it off. It may turn part of it off – such as the display features, while not turning off other functions, which can then be used to track you, even listen to you. Many devices, tho’ seemingly “off” (“dead”, “asleep”, “disconnected”) continue to interact with other systems, be they GPS satellites or cell towers or WiFi “hotspots” – and that may be the case for reasons which are not at all nefarious (a device which is continually sampling, for instance, cell phone towers, even while “off”, will be all that much quicker to lock in to a suitable receiver/transmitter when you do turn it on, because it already knows where it is at, prompting users to boast about how fast their phone is ready to dial: “You still hunting for bars? This puppy’s ready to go the moment I turn it on…”). Short of removing the battery (and any back-up battery), you simply do not know what your devices may be doing, on, off, disabled, etc., which functions can conceivably be used against you. Indeed, you cannot even erase a lot of stuff anymore, because it’s already tucked away “in the cloud” (ask Hillary about that one). If you want to be able to hide – not only your location but your activities, you had best not be addicted to the latest and best electronic technology. Useful as it may be, it may also be the thing which betrays you. Just imagine how Jeffrey Dahmer would have felt about having one of those refrigerators which talks to you and takes and sends pictures of your fridge’s contents (“You are down to only two severed heads in your freezer… Do you need more?”).

  • SteveInMN September 15, 2014, 9:50 am

    “…the shadow government…”?!?!?!?!?

    A conspiracy on the grandest of scales. All those thousands of mouths to silence. AKA —

    Just.

    Plain.

    Nuts!

  • jim September 15, 2014, 8:24 am

    Ever consider turning off the GPS?
    sheesh…. knucklehead….

  • Muhjesbude September 15, 2014, 8:19 am

    Of course google ‘sends notice’ to the shadow government. Otherwise what’s the point of tracking us? It’s none of anybody’s business what anybody else does privately unless it’s part of a government sponsored agenda based whorefest with corporatist cronies. If you’re on face book, twitter, google or any other social media, you might as well just directly drop off a file disc of all you you say, do, buy, and everywhere you go at NSA/CIA headquarters and save ‘them’ some taxpayer dollars. Amazingly, there still are ‘in denial’ idiots that think this is all a conspiracy and ‘They’ want to kill Snowden so desperately not for busting them out on this, but for something else!

    This citizen spying is growing so egregiously pervasive that it assaults our egalitarian sensibilities as Free American Citizens. It bitch slaps us in the face liberty and privacy guaranteed by the Constitution. And the bad part is that it trickles down from the Fed to local ‘new age’ paramilitary police where if they can sneak it into the budget, they now even put license plate scanners on all municipal vehicles–not just the squad cars. The only ‘eyes diverted’ response from the ‘authorities’ is, lol! That ‘it helps them locate stolen cars’? Google That for another ‘sobering black coffee’ moment. Scrutinizing police budgets also reveal some interesting expenditures. Like paying cell phone companies for ‘services’ which allow them to real time scan all area phone conversations and track locations in this manner as well. This is nothing too new, there were ‘spy devices’ which allowed that intercept within a police area before, but they now get direct cooperation with the companies and use state of the art commercial cell tower computers and equipment!

    And of course the one i like is the letter i get from my rural volunteer fire department sending mail letters soliciting donations for expensive FLIR devices to ‘help locate/detect fires in houses by looking through the walls of houses before they get out of control!” Again, when i confronted the chief, he diverted his eyes from my wolf like glare when i asked him, ‘oh, and just who the fuck is going to ‘volunteer’ to ride around all the time scanning every house in the area looking for potential fires?” And all he could say before he took off was , “uh, well, um uh, I uh, It’s something we definitely need, see ya”. I hollered back, ‘You mean the Sheriff’s narcotics squad won’t be ‘borrowing’ it to try to detect and nab potential pot growing rooms with High intensity lights in the attics or barns so they could get that bounty percentage on all property they seize?!’

    Before DNA testing, everybody would be frighteningly surprised at how many innocent people were put away. Innocent people literally died in prison. Not in Russia or Iran, BUT RIGHT HERE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE! This new wave of abuse is a potential horror movie coming soon to a theater near you to cause chronic nightmares for the rest of our lives.

    Folks, all this privacy elimination is happening for a reason. They have algorithms which can be implemented when they collate enough ‘meta-data’ on everybody in their Utah storage/cloud monster when it’s finished so that they punch in a sentence like: search Anybody and everybody who ever bought .223 or 7.62×39 ammo or ever bought this type of scope, or ever watched Red dawn, etc. and etc.”, Then, off that list, they’ll search psychological profiles from other ‘marketing analysis’, And sooner or later, even the most ‘purest’ and saintly among us ‘who have nothing to hide, therefore nothing to fear’, will be hearing a ‘knock, knock, knocking…in the pre dawn hours…at their chamber door…’

    Since Castle doctrine laws allowed people to enhance their home security to anti-intrusion levels, and rural ‘farm’ zoning precluded typical town ordnances against ‘protection dogs’, many uninvited solicitors who disregarded your No Trespassing signs when the gate was open got bit, AND then cited for illegal tresspassing. My beasts are seasoned ‘veterans’. And my neighbor’s Shutshund is pushing the 3 strikes and your out law, lol!

    So a while back i noticed a 172 flying around in circles over my property at a lower than usual altitude for no apparent reason. Nothing really to see except a few buildings. As a pilot myself, I knew it wasn’t ‘normal’ sightseeing, and later my neighbor a couple miles away said he had the same situation. Having good binocs always handy, i read the plane numbers and began searching and found the airport it was tied down at and did my thing. I found out that it was occasionally rented to county assessors who couldn’t get a good enough view using ‘google Earth’ and didn’t want to risk ‘trespassing’ because they cannot just ‘walk on your land’ whenever they feel like it, and wanted to get a better angle to see what you were building under those tall oak trees without a permit?

    I’m waiting for the letter in the mail that wants donations for drones to ‘help find missing children lost in the woods’. Even though we never had that happen yet, and I’m pretty sure that a good scent dog would save the day pretty quickly in the remote eventuality.

    It’s out of control already and what’s already bad can only get worse. Hi tech is wonderful but the potential for abuse is not only unbelievable, it’s addictive.

    But we don’t have to just sit there and take it. We can start by being aware of what’s going on in our ‘governments’ and rallying in protest. We can start by voting NOT to fund these criminal anti-Constitutional intrusions! And then we can start to actually ‘change’ these anti-privacy and freedom laws. Who the fuck are ‘They’ to make all these draconian laws for their agenda without considering our liberty and privacy first and foremost?! We’ve got to quit being so slatternly and quit letting them control all the laws. We, the People must take the initiative and repeal some of these laws and make new ones offering More protection from intrusion. ‘Public Safety and excessive ‘Crime Prevention’ are nothing more then cover stories for gestapo tactics. There are other important liberties to protect besides the 2nd Amendment. Because if ‘They’ eliminate those, what good is the 2nd Amendment if we won’t be able to use it because they’ll be nothing left to protect?!

    Good work on this article, Paul.

    • Jimm September 15, 2014, 6:15 pm

      Dude, teach me your ways. Your comment is an eye-opener. Jim

    • Russ September 16, 2014, 1:20 am

      What matters most to me is the agenda of the ones in power at the time.
      If the ones in power care about our countries strength and constitutional rights, then I’m fine with whatever they want to do cause I’ve got nothing to hide.
      But when it comes to the person in power who wants to fundamentally change my country and has a problem with the constitution and makes up his own laws that trash it.
      Well, I see that person for what he is, the enemy to the USA.
      And that’s when I can’t trust anything that the powers to be attempt pulling on me.
      It’s all about the agenda of those involved. It’s that basic. And is what has me thinking.

    • Mike September 16, 2014, 7:27 am

      Ok pal most of what you say is on the mark.
      But the comment on the fire department using flir is so far off as to be laughable.
      I am a Lt on our local volunteer department and we have a hand held flir that we use often and primarily for search and rescue in smoke filled buildings. It dose not replace good training or technique but is an add on tool to help us save lives and property.
      If your chief could not articulate that then he is an idiot. It is also not for the police to play with.
      as they can catch your grow room by looking at your light bill.
      tone down the rhetoric and stick to facts, if you dont you make FREEFOR look like a bunch of tinfoil hat morons

    • Samantha Ellen October 3, 2015, 6:27 am

      Do a quick search for:
      “www.stopthepirates.blogspot.com”
      & check out the pages that come up if you want a real “EYE-OPENER”.
      If you ever thought you were a “freeman” living the All American Dream you certainly won’t anymore.
      Time to wake up.
      I’m begging you. https://www.bing.com/search?q=stopthepirates.blogspot.com&PC=U316&FORM=CHROMN

    • a11for1 January 17, 2017, 8:18 pm

      Mujhesbude’s illustration is not wrong; it displays possibilities. And if he [we] can imagine an instrument or process applied outside of original intent; then others have too. Few things can’t be misused, or utilized to serve an agenda.
      And that is central to any such problem; assurances [we’re not, we won’t, it doesn’t… ad nausem] is not very convincing. Especially when the statement comes immediately after the question.

  • Ven September 15, 2014, 7:20 am

    I have no location history. Yes I have a smart phone, I just is it wisely 🙂

  • EricX September 15, 2014, 5:54 am

    Blackberry 9700… NOTHING shows up on google location history! It’s the MAC of smartphones… camera sucks, video sucks, no games, few apps, minimal social network but damn if it is the stealthiest platform out there!
    I can also cut it off… and even remove battery for uber-stealth mode… try that with an iPhone!

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