Mobile devices have hardware and software components that record large amounts of data. Some of the data is apparent to the device owner, some is discarded quickly, and some is hidden from the person using the device. For this study, the researchers used an Android smartphone as a typical user, carrying the device throughout the day, using Facebook and Google applications. Then the smartphone was analyzed using mobile forensic techniques and software. The investigation revealed security and privacy concerns. The researchers were able to retrieve social interactions, pictures, documents, and other personal attributes stored on the device. The most interesting find was location tracking information. This Android phone logged and stored location data when the researcher had location services enabled, but it also continued to collect and store location information after turning location services off. Within Google Maps, the sub-feature called Google Timeline, tracked location, date, and time as long as the phone was powered on. These findings will increase awareness for mobile devices users and may lead to more consumer-centric privacy settings in mobile operating systems.
Williams, Elizabeth and Yerby, Johnathan, "Google and Facebook Data Retention and Location Tracking through Forensic Cloud Analysis" (2019). SAIS 2019 Proceedings. 3.