The spokesperson added that Google collected information that have been flagged by the researchers, such as a device’s IMEI, in order to deliver critical updates reliably throughout the Android device and apps ecosystem. In their report, the researchers analyzed the data sent by six variants of the Android OS, namely those developed by Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, Realme, LineageOS and /e/OS.
“As explained in our Google Play Services Help Center article, this data is essential for core device services such as push notifications and software updates across a diverse ecosystem of devices and software builds,” countered a Google spokesperson in a statement to BleepingComputer. We’re looking at how our readers use VPNs with streaming sites like Netflix so we can improve our content and offer better advice. This survey won’t take more than 60 seconds of your time, and we’d hugely appreciate if you’d share your experiences with us.
Highlighting /e/OS as a notable exception, the researchers observed that sensitive user data like persistent identifiers, app usage details, and telemetry information is shared not just with the device vendors, but is also ferried to multiple third parties, such as Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Google has however dismissed the claims saying that the behavior isn’t unexpected, since “this is how modern smartphones work.” With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.
“While occasional communication with OS servers is to be expected, the observed data transmission goes well beyond this and raises a number of privacy concerns. There is no opt out from this data collection,” the researchers concluded.