Smartphones share user data with Apple/Google every 4.5 minutes

A new academic study shows that Android phones and iPhone phones share data with Apple/Google every 4.5 minutes on average. Even if they are idle in a pocket or handbag, the data will be sent back.

The study of Trinity College in Dublin raised the issue of the privacy of smartphones again. The study claimed that Apple and Google have little difference in collecting certain data.

The study was published by Professor Douglas J. Leith of Trinity College, who claimed that in terms of privacy, the iPhone is not as good as Android devices.

Open Differential Privacy project

However, the study also pointed out that in terms of data collection, the amount of data collected by Android phones is much larger than that of the iPhone. “During the first 10 minutes of startup, the [Google] Pixel handset sends around 1MB of data … to Google compared with the iPhone sending around 42KB of data to Apple.”

The data that the mobile phone may send back includes SIM card information, detailed information of the mobile phone hardware, such as the hardware serial number, IMEI, Wifi MAC address, and phone number.

“We identified flaws in the researcher’s methodology for measuring data volume and disagree with the paper’s claims that an Android device shares 20 times more data than an iPhone. According to our research, these findings are off by an order of magnitude, and we shared our methodology concerns with the researcher before publication.” It goes on to say, “This research largely outlines how smartphones work. Modern cars regularly send basic data about vehicle components, their safety status and service schedules to car manufacturers, and mobile phones work in very similar ways. This report details those communications, which help ensure that iOS or Android software is up to date, services are working as intended, and that the phone is secure and running efficiently.”

Via: arstechnica