Everyday mobile devices track a lot of information about our activity. As this situation became more widely known, there was a general interest in the digital privacy of these spaces.
Despite the fact that most of the services associated with these platforms offer a free mode of tracking, which restricts the transmission of this data, there is information that continues to be sent, despite the will expressed by the owner of each device.
Delving into this situation, a research team from the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, developed an investigation around the user data that the iOS and Android operating systems share with their respective parent companies. , Apple and Google.
The results of this observation revealed that, even in situations of inactivity or minimal intervention of the devices, each one tends to share an average of data per day of 4.5 minutes.
What data does my mobile share with Apple and Google?
Similarly, Apple and Google record the IMEI of each device, the hardware serial number, the SIM serial number and its IMSI registration, the phone number associated with the mobile, and more.
One striking aspect is that the research indicates that even if users explicitly choose not to share this data, Android and iOS systems continue to send telemetry data to their manufacturing companies. The alarm reaches the point where, as soon as a SIM card is inserted in any device, the data transmission begins.
One particular observation made around iOS alleges that its users cannot prevent their devices from sharing the MAC addresses and GPS locations of nearby devices (such as other phones or home gateways) with Apple. As in the previous case, the data transmission is immediate, it is not even necessary to have a session started.
Specific iOS tools, such as iCloud, Safari and Siri, send user data to Apple, regardless of the user’s willingness or knowledge of the situation to share this activity.
In Android a very similar dynamic is presented, but particularly through the applications Chrome, YouTube, Google Docs, Google Messaging, Clock, Safetyhub and Google Searchbar.
In the report of this study it is commented that a possible reason behind this flow of shared information from each device is related to the connection to the server back end, which automatically updates the IP address. And once a company knows an IP address, it can usually identify its respective geographic location.
Source: Trinity College Dublin
Google tracks more information about its users than Apple
The heaviest part of this research was carried out by Google, as the study report states that the company collects a much greater amount of data from nearby devices, compared to Apple. While Google receives about 1MB of data from Android devices, iOS devices only send Apple 42KB of data on average.
While idle, the Android Pxel sends about 1MB every 12 hours, while iOS shares 52KB of data. In addition, the volume of data collected by Google amplifies the information collected by Apple by 20 times.
The authors of this investigation directly summoned the aforementioned companies. Apple declined to comment on the matter and Google commented that it is working on an appeasement system for this tracking, on which there are still no public lights.
The full text of the study, published in English, can be reviewed through the following link.