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Infographic – Smartphone Data Collection, Like It or Not

Chart: data collection requests

Hourly data collection requests from mobile devices. Click on image for full size view. (Statista)

25 August 2018. At Science & Enterprise, we often report on researchers using smartphones to collect data for their research, aided in some cases by developer tools designed for that purpose like Apple’s ResearchKit. As smartphone users, however, we’re learning more and more about the data collected by mobile device software, particularly Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems, and sent to their servers. Our friends at Statista reported yesterday on iOS and Android data collection practices, from a study published earlier this week, the subject of this weekend’s infographic.

The chart shows Google far eclipses Apple is grabbing data from our phones. If you have an Android phone, Google typically takes data from your phone about 90 times an hour while the phone is in use, and even 40 times an hour when the device is idle. And iPhones aren’t excluded from Google’s data collection, taking data 51 times an hour when in use. Idle iPhones, however, are largely ignored by the company. Apple, on the other hand, samples more modestly from iPhones, about 18 times an hour when in use and 4 times an hour when idle.

Statista says Google disputes the conclusions from the study, calling them “wildly misleading.” But an Associated Press story earlier in August confirms that Google collects data from Android devices and iPhones, even if the user’s privacy settings say otherwise.

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