Android and iOS smartphones share data with their parent companies every four and a half minutes, a new academic study has revealed.
The study, conducted by The Trinity College Dublin research has heightened privacy concerns. The findings divulge that there is little difference between Apple and Google when it comes to collecting certain data.
IPhones don’t offer more security than Google devices according to the study.Published by Prof Doug Leith at Trinity’s Connect Centre, the study noted that Google handsets collected “a notably larger volume of handset data than Apple.” Google devices send 1MB of data from Google Pixel handsets when not in use every 12 hours, whereas Apple phones send 52KB.
Data shared incudes details such as insertion of a SIM and handset details, hardware serial number, IMEI, Wifi MAC address and the phone number.
“I think most people accept that Apple and Google need to collect data from our phones to provide services such as iCloud or Google Drive. But when we simply use our phones as phones – to make and receive calls and nothing more – it is much harder to see why Apple and Google need to collect data,” said Prof Leith.
“Yet in this study we find that Apple and Google collect a wealth of information in precisely that situation. It seems excessive, and it is hard to see why it is necessary.”
Moreover, Prof Leith said the devices not only collected data about handset activity, but also about handsets nearby.
“The WiFi MAC address identifies a device on a WiFi network and so, for example, uniquely identifies your home router, cafe hotspot or office network. That means Apple can potentially track which people you are near to, as well as when and where. That’s very concerning.”
Users do not have the option toopt out of data collection, Prof leith added.
This article originally appeared on Irishtimes