Even in minimum configuration, smartphones constantly send data to Google and Apple. This is indeed what Douglas J. Leith, a researcher at Trinity College London, found. He took a Pixel 2 running Android 10 and an iPhone 8 running iOS 13, one rooted for the other jailbroken, in order to be able to intercept and decrypt data exchanges with Google and Apple’s servers. The measurements were taken without logging in to a Google or Apple account and after refusing to share any data.
Apple collects MAC addresses and location
Result: it turns out that the two terminals send data on average every 4.5 minutes. Some of the data that is transmitted includes IMEI, device and SIM serial numbers, phone number, telemetry data and cookies. The iPhone also transmits location data, the IP address and MAC addresses of devices connected to the same local network.
Regarding telemetry data, the researcher notes that Google collects on average 20 times more data than its competitor Apple (1 MB every 12 hours on the Pixel against 52 kb on the iPhone). The researcher points out that it is impossible for the user to escape this data collection.
Contacted by Ars Technica, Google and Apple partially refuted the conclusions of this study. Google estimates that the researcher incorrectly estimated the volume of data transmitted and that it is not 20 times higher on the Pixel than on the iPhone. In addition, the web giant specifies that if smartphones transmit data, it is to be able to ensure the proper functioning of services, as is done for cars.
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Apple, for its part, emphasizes being perfectly transparent about the collection of personal data and location data, and that protective measures against geolocation are available.
Source : Ars Technica