12 Jan Phone Privacy
“Bye, privacy – phones are collecting your data more than believed before
Posted 6 days ago – October 2021
Privacy matters, regardless if you think you have nothing to hide. Corporations shouldn’t be able to track your every move in order to gain a competitive advantage. Or even sell your data, which should have never belonged to them anyway.
A new study led by the University of Edinburgh and Trinity College Dublin revealed that six popular Android phones collect and share extensive amounts of data without the user’s knowledge.
Your data is important and highly valuable, even if you don’t think it is. Also, your private moments would feel a little differently if you knew someone was watching. Scientists have expected that major phone manufacturers will facilitate some communication with the developers of the operating system (OS), but the volume of data transmission was way higher than they could have expected. And concerns about privacy are real.
Scientists examined the Operating Systems (OS) developed by Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, Realme, LineageOS and e/OS. The team looked at what data these devices are collecting and transmitting. They were particularly interested in situations, when the user wouldn’t expect to be tracked – in the moments when the phone is barely configured and is sitting idle. Researchers found that all the devices, except for e/OS, collect a list of every app installed on their handsets and pass on substantial amounts of information to their OS developer and even third parties.
Apps are half of the phone and they can tell a lot about the user. Mental health apps could tell advertisers how you’re feeling, GPS apps can tell corporations where you went and what kind of means of transport you’re using. It is all very sensitive data and yet Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme and Google collect long-lived device identifiers and user-resettable advertising identifiers. In many cases that kind of data collection is justified by the companies with a promise to deliver a tailored-made performance, but you can’t even opt out.
Professor Doug Leith, one of the authors of the study, said: “I think we have completely missed the massive and ongoing data collection by our phones, for which there is no opt out. We’ve been too focused on web cookies and on badly-behaved apps. I hope our work will act as a wake-up call to the public, politicians and regulators. Meaningful action is urgently needed to give people real control over the data that leaves their phones.”
You’re probably thinking, whether that’s even legal. Well, you’ve never read the fine print in the paperwork of your phone, did you? Huge tech companies have themselves covered and in this crazy world data is basically a currency for them. Hopefully, policy makers can at least try changing that.
Source: University of Edinburgh”