Android phones still track you, even when you opt out.

The image for the article under which researchers are looking for an Android phone still tracks you, even when you opt out.

Image: Leon Neil (Getty Images)

If you use an Android phone and are (rightly) concerned about digital privacy, you’ve already taken care of the basics. You have deleted. Snippet Snoopy Apps, Opt out Be aware of this whenever possible, and all the other precautions that are popular. How Privacy Guides You have said. The bad news – and maybe you want to sit down for it – is that none of these steps are enough to get rid of trackers completely.

Or at least, it’s the force of a. New paper From researchers at Trinity College Dublin who took a look at the data sharing habits of some popular versions of the Android OS, including those developed by Samsung, Xiaomi and Huawei. According to the researchers, these devices consistently return device data to OS developers and selected third parties “out of the box” and when left unattended, “with a little configuration.” And what’s worse is that there is often no way to opt out of this data pinging, even if users want to.

A lot of the allegations here, as the researchers point out, come from the so-called “System apps. “These are apps that are pre-installed by the hardware maker on a specific device to offer a specific type of functionality: the camera or the messaging app are examples. Android usually packages apps called “Read Only Memory” (ROM) of the device, which means you can’t delete or change these apps. Connect your device. And unless you do, researchers find that they’re constantly sending device data back to their parent company and a few third parties – even if you’ve never opened the app.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you own a Samsung device that is packaged with something. Microsoft Bluetooth. Already installed, including (ugh) LinkedIn. Although you have a good chance. Never open LinkedIn. For whatever reason, that hard-coded app is constantly pinging Microsoft’s servers with details about your device. In this case, it’s the so-called “telemetry data”, which includes the unique identifier of your device, and the number of Microsoft apps you have installed on your phone. This data. Also Shared with third party analytics providers These apps can be plugins, which usually means Google, since Google Analytics The ruling king All analytics tools are available.

The researcher's problem is which devices were collecting which data, and where it was being sent.۔

The researcher’s problem is which devices were collecting which data, and where it was being sent.
Screenshot: Shushna Woodinsky (Trinity College)

About the hard coded apps that you have. Probably In fact, every time it opens in a short time, even more data is sent with each conversation. Researchers caught Samsung Pass, for example, sharing details of time stamps when you were using the app, and for how long, with Google Analytics. The same goes for Samsung. Game Launcher, And whenever you pull out Samsung’s Virtual Assistant, بکسبی۔.

Samsung is not alone here, of course. Google messaging app pre-installed on Samsung phones. Competitor GeoMe was caught sharing timestamps with each user’s interaction with Google Analytics, as well as every time a user sent a text. Huawei devices were also caught doing so. And on devices where Microsoft’s Swiftkey was already installed, each time the keyboard was shared with Microsoft using a log in another app or elsewhere on the device.

We’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to what every app is doing on every device these researchers saw, that’s why you Paper Or, better yet, check us out Easy guide Spy on Android data sharing methods yourself. But for the most part, you’ll see data sharing that sounds pretty, nice, boring: event logs, details about your device’s hardware (like model and screen size), some kind of identifier. With, such as phone hardware serial number and mobile ad identification, or “AdID”

On their own, none of these data points can uniquely identify your phone as yours, but together, they make one unique. “Fingerprint“Which can be used to track your device, even if you try to opt out. Researchers point out that while Android has advertising identity. Technically ReorderThe fact that apps are usually bundled with more permanent identifiers means that these apps – and whatever third party they’re working with – will know who you are. The researchers found that this was the case with Samsung, Xiaomi, Realm and some other reset IDs offered by Huawei.

Thanks to Google. does There are a few Developer rules Prevent particularly invasive apps. This tells devs that they cannot associate a device’s unique ad ID with a more permanent object (for example, the device’s IMEI) for any ad-related purpose. And while analytics providers. Are This linking is allowed, they can only do it with the user’s “explicit consent”.

“If reset, a new Ad Identifier should not be associated with data obtained from the previous Ad Identifier or from the previous Ad Identifier without the explicit consent of the user.” Separate page Details of these giant policies. “You must adhere to the user’s ‘opt-out of interest-based ads’ or ‘opt-out of personalized ads’ settings. If a user has enabled this setting, then Cannot be used to create user profiles for or to target users with personalized ads.

It is worth noting that Google has no rules on what developers can do. Plural This information, they are only allowed to do with it. after the This is a plus, and since these are pre-installed apps that often get stuck on your phone, researchers have found that they often allow clear opt-out settings for user privacy. This user did not open them. And there’s no easy way to delete them, this data will continue to be collected (and will continue to be) even until the owner of this phone Becomes creative Throws the root or their tool into the sea.

Google, when people were asked about this non-optable data collection. Blipping on the computer., Replied that this is just “how modern smartphones work”:

As described in our Google Play Services. Help Center article., This data is essential for different ecosystems of different device and software builds such as basic device services such as push notifications and software updates. For example, Google Play Services uses data on authenticated Android devices to support the basic features of the device. A limited collection of basic information, such as the device’s IMEI, is essential for reliably delivering important updates to all Android devices and apps.

Which seems logical and reasonable, but the study itself proves that this is not the whole story. As part of the study, the team looked at a device equipped with / e / OS, an open source operating system focused on privacy. “deGoogledAndroid version. The system replaces Android’s backed-in apps, including the Google Play Store. Free and open source equivalent. That users can access without a Google Account. And don’t you know that when these devices were useless, they sent “no information to Google or other third parties”, and “basically no information” to the dev / e / ‘devs themselves.

In other words, the above-mentioned tracking heelscape is clearly only indispensable if you think Google’s presence on your phone is also inevitable. Let’s be honest here – this is for most Android users. So what does the Samsung user have to do, besides, you know?

Well, legislators can care for beginners. The privacy laws we have in books today – e.g. GDPR In the European Union, and CCPA Almost all companies in the United States are created specifically for the way tech companies are handled. Recognizable Formats of data, such as your name and address. The so-called “anonymous” data, such as your device’s hardware specs or ad identification, usually breaks these rules, although they can Commonly used Without your identification and if we can’t successfully demand an amendment to our country’s privacy laws, perhaps one of them. Large-scale mistrust suits Now Google’s stare will eventually force the company to put on a hat in some of these offensive ways.

.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *