New study raises fresh ‘privacy concerns’ about data sharing from Android mobile phones – ~tech

No problem, I’m happy for it to get more exposure, I do want to copy over here a comment I just wrote on the other topic though, because I think it’s important:

I have not read the entire report yet, so there are details I might have missed, but from quickly searching around the PDF this is what I found:

(v) Google Pixel 2/Android 10 (LineageOS build 17.1-20210316, opengapps 10.0-nano-20210314

(vi) Google Pixel 2/Android 10 (eos build e-0.11-q-20200917)

Apart from Google’s GApps, no third-party system apps on the LineageOS handset were observed to perform data collection. On /e/OS, we observed no data collection by system apps

So it seems like the only reason for the data collection difference between LineageOS and /e/OS is because Open GApps was installed on the LineageOS device.

I do wish they would have tested that further, such as by testing the LineageOS device once with Open GApps and then another time with MicroG instead, but there may have been constraints in how they performed the experiment that did not allow them to do that.

Also, the point they may have wanted to make is that it is Google’s own proprietary apps that are responsible for vast majority of data collection on Android devices:

LineageOS and Samsung send similar volumes of data, Xiaomi and Huawei about twice as much and Realme about three times as much. These differences are likely related to different configurations of Google GApps e.g. on LineageOS the so-called nano version of GApps was installed (other options includes micro, mini, full, stock19). In all cases the volume of data uploaded to Google is at least 10×that uploaded by the mobile OS developer. For Xiaomi, Huawei and Realme the volume rises to around 30×.

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