Smartphones share our data every 4.5 minutes, says Irish Times

Almost nearly everyone has a smartphone nowadays, it is now considered essential for everyday life. Smartphones are part of our life to connect through friends and family members.

Everyone is also aware that smartphone manufacturers share our data to advertisers to give us recommendations. Some are concerned about this because of privacy issues. This is not limited to iPhones, but also to many Android phones out there.

A recent study released by the Irish Times said that smartphones share data every 4 and a half minutes, even when on stand-by or on idle.

According to a study reported by Trinity College Dublin, there is little difference between Apple and Google when sharing or selling data. The same study also said that iPhones offered no better privacy protection than what Android offers.

However, despite that, it has also noted that Android handsets send a larger amount of data back than Apple does, 1MB for Android vs 52KB for Apple devices sent every 12 hours.

Among the data sent include SIM, IMEI, Wi-Fi MAC address and even the user’s phone number.

Professor Leith said that Apple and Google don’t need to collect data when receiving or answering calls.

“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, a researcher from Trinity College, Dublin.

“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.” he added.

Prof. Leith expressed disappointment in these two companies, especially Apple, who has talked about protecting users’ privacy multiple times and sometimes, even highlighting it.

Unfortunately, users cannot opt out of this data collection. One thing he finds the most concerning is the Wi-Fi MAC address data, which means Apple can track people who are near you, as well as when and where. This MAC address is used to identify a device when using a Wi-Fi network. And so, has information including your home router, hotspot and/or office network.

Other concerns include the collection of the data linked to online shopping or internet browsing.

A spokesperson from Google responded to these concerns.

“This research outlines how smartphones work,” the spokesperson said. “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.” he added.

Apple is yet to respond to this.

Source: The Irish Times