Location permission?


#1

I just opened the TR Android app after using my Macbook recently, and when I opened the device menu I was asked for a location permission.

Anyone have any idea what this is used for?


#2

On my android device, I do not seem to be able to pair my Tacx Neo with deactivated GPS.
Not sure if you have been observing the same thing on your Mac?

As a quick search did not bring any relevant results in this context:
Can somebody point me to whether this is a user error or whether this is really the default?
If default: how can I deactivate this pairing-location-dependency?


#3

bluetooth needs location permission for some reason that probably makes sense to google’s data scraping guys but not the rest of us. I have the location service turned off and it seems to work.


#4

I actually answered this yesterday! Basically, Android requires location permission to use Bluetooth because applications using Bluetooth have direct access to the device MAC address for the purpose of pairing, which is considered location information. Here’s some more info:

“My understanding of Bluetooth is that applications using Bluetooth have direct access to the device MAC address for the purpose of pairing. I will assume this for this answer. If you can read MAC addresses of WiFi or Bluetooth transmitters, you can locate a device. This is how WiFi/Bluetooth location works; you listen for MAC addresses of transmitters and look these up in a giant global database. Therefore, any application using Bluetooth and a data connection is theoretically capable of locating your device. I am not sure this is practically possible; Bluetooth does not have the same range and semi-permanent access point infrastructure as WiFi. By requiring location services to access Bluetooth, you ensure that the user understands their location information may leak when they use Bluetooth. In versions of Android prior to Marshmallow, the user could use Bluetooth without location services enabled, but location information could leak. In these older versions, you could also run WiFi scans to find MAC addresses without location services enabled, which again meant that your location information could leak. The requirement to allow location services to use Bluetooth is about ensuring that someone who disables location keeps their location private. I would characterize this issue as a design problem and not a bug. A bug is presumably fixable, but it’s not clear to me you can use Bluetooth at all without potentially leaking location information. Bluetooth was created before anyone considered WiFi and Bluetooth location services.”
https://android.stackexchange.com/questions/160479/why-do-i-need-to-turn-on-location-services-to-pair-with-a-bluetooth-device


#5

Hello @larry

thank you for the explanation. With the help of this I was able to dig a bit further via


to one of the issues raised at Google
https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/37065090

I would also not follow the argument, but have resolved to installing some app to fake GPS position at least.

If I read your post correctly, this means that - while thanks to Google GPS has to be activated - Trainerroad is not processing or storing the location but only requires this for pairing with bluetooth devices.


#6

Exactly. We don’t care about any of your location data (except for your outside rides!) so it’s not that we process or store any of it when you enable location permissions, but that it’s just required for use to use your Android device’s Bluetooth for pairing your cycling devices. Cheers!


#7

It is a very technical and confusing argument. I’ll try and simplify.

The basic idea is that a store app could:

  • require you to register and be logged into the app
  • collect the ID of your phone’s Bluetooth
  • upload the ID to the store’s cloud

Inside the store, they have Bluetooth devices. When you enter the store it detects the ID, and uploads to the store’s cloud. The store knows you are in a specific store, and can track you inside the store.

No GPS information from your phone is required. Having fake GPS data will not stop this from happening.

The store app only needs to read the Bluetooth ID.

For that reason, Google decided to require enabling Location Services for any app accessing Bluetooth.