In India, Apple TV channels have released the amc + premium streaming package. Some of the simpler Android apps may be spying on you more than you think

In India, Apple TV channels have released the amc + premium streaming package.  Some of the simpler Android apps may be spying on you more than you think

While the data sent by Google Messages includes a hash of the message text that makes it possible to link the sender and receiver in a text message, the data sent by Google Dialer includes the time and duration of phone calls as well as the phone numbers themselves. We’re looking at how our readers use VPNs with different devices so we can improve our content and offer better advice. This survey shouldn’t take more than 60 seconds of your time, and entrants from the UK and US will have the chance to enter a draw for a £100 Amazon gift card (or equivalent in USD). Thank you for taking part.

User data is silently sent back to Google via pre-installed apps. Google is continuously improving the Play Store to prevent Android apps from spying on users, but according to a new revelation, the search giant’s own apps have been collecting and sending user data back to the firm. Douglas Leith, a computer science professor at Trinity College Dublin, has revealed that Google Messages and Google Dialer have been transferring data about user communications to the Google Play Services Clearcut logger service and Google’s Firebase Analytics service, according to a new research study.

Highlights

  • These days most apps collect some data on their users but they also give them a way to opt-out to remain in compliance with GDPR, CCPA and other data protection laws. With Google’s own apps that come pre-installed on many Android smartphones, there is currently no ability to opt-out of data collection. At the same time, the pre-installed versions of both apps lack app-specific privacy policies which explain what data gets collected. Although Google requires app-specific privacy policies from third-party apps, it’s own apps don’t need to meet this same requirement.

  • What’s particularly troubling about this is the fact that there are currently over three billion Android smartphones in use today and devices from Huawei, Samsung, Xiaomi and other smartphone makers often ship with Google Messages and Google Dialer pre-installed. As part of his research into the matter, Leith made a Google Takeout request for his Google Account data associated with both Google Messages and Google Dialer. While Google did send over this data, the telemetry data observed by Leith wasn’t included.

“In particular, they say they will introduce a toggle within the Messages app to allow users to opt out of data collection but that this opt out will not cover data that Google considers to be ‘essential’ i.e. they will continue to collect some data even when users opt out. In my tests I had already opted out of Google data collection by disabling the Google ‘Usage and diagnostics’ option in the handset Settings, and so the data I reported on was already judged to be somehow essential by Google. I think we’ll have to wait and see.”

While Google Play Services collects some data for security and fraud prevention purposes and to maintain Google Play Services APIs and Google’s core services, the company does not provide details or explain why it collects message content data or data on callers and call recipients. After sharing his findings with Google back in November of last year, Leith has participated in several conversations with the company’s director of Google Messages about making changes to the company’s pre-installed messaging app. In an email to The Register, he provided details on the changes the company has planned and how they may not do much when it comes to data collected by the search giant, saying:

After getting his start at ITProPortal while living in South Korea, Anthony now writes about cybersecurity, web hosting, cloud services, VPNs and software for TechRadar Pro. In addition to writing the news, he also edits and uploads reviews and features and tests numerous VPNs from his home in Houston, Texas. Recently, Anthony has taken a closer look at standing desks, office chairs and all sorts of other work from home essentials. When not working, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.