If you weren’t already aware, no matter how big or small, internet companies are constantly vying to collect the most amount of personal data from their users. But then, tech giants such as Google overdo it by a far greater extent.
According to the findings of a study conducted by Trinity College Dublin, the Alphabet-owned Google collects 20 times more data from Android devices compared to iPhones that use Apple’s iOS.
But that being said, the report highlighted that both Android devices and iPhones share data frequently.
During the research, it was observed that Android and iPhone both share data every 4.5 minutes on average, including basic information of the device in use, such as the serial number of SIM cards hardware serial number, International Mobile Equipment Identity aka IMEI number, phone number and telemetry.
In Apple’s case, when a SIM card gets inserted into a device, iOS sends Apple the Mac address of nearby devices along with the device’s GPS location. As for Google, before you log into your Google or any other account on your Android device, it already proceeds to send the hardware serial number, IMEO, SIM serial number and phone number to the handset manufacturing company. But that is not all.
Furthermore, Google also collects Ad ID, Android ID, Resettable Device Identifier DroidGuard key and much more.
What’s more shocking is that the study found that both Apple and Google end up sending the telemetry data from devices even when users deny it. Within the first 10 minutes of booting a device, Google’s Android collects 1 MB of data while an Apple device has 42 KB of data collected.
Google also extracts 1 MB of data when a device is not in use, while Apple does the same but secures only 52 KB of data every 12 hours.
Now, when asked to comment on the study findings, Google refused to acknowledge the methodology of the research. And a company spokesperson, however, said that the data sent to Google helps them keep the user’s device up to date and ensures the phone is running efficiently and securely.
All in all, while the study proves that user data collection is something that both Apple and Google partake in, it is important to note that these tech giants have started taking baby steps towards a more privacy-centric future.
On the one hand, wherein Apple has introduced the ability to disable personalised ad-tracking on its devices via the iOS 14 update. On the other hand, Google has announced it will discontinue the use of third-party cookies and reduce the volume of data collection on its Android devices.
It now remains to be seen how successfully both Apple and Google are able to thrive in a privacy-first future. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.