Owning an Android phone could mean that your data is being tracked even if you do not give permission to the device to do so. Researchers have found that some Android devices have system apps that come pre-installed with Android device or bloatware, that comes right out of the box, sends back user data to the OS’s developers and various third parties. These system apps could serve some functionality like the camera or messages app but would send data to their OS even if the user never opened them.
According to researchers at the Trinity College in Dublin, there is no way to opt-out of the data tracking from these system apps, unless users decide to root their devices as these apps are usually packaged into the read-only memory (ROM).
The researchers studied popular proprietary variants of the Android OS developed by Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei and Realme. They also reported on the data shared by the LineageOS and /e/OS open-source variants of Android. The researchers noted that Samsung has the largest share of this market, followed by Xiaomi, Huawei and Oppo which is the parent company of Realme).
“System apps cannot be deleted (they are installed on a protected read-only disk partition) and can be granted enhanced rights/permissions not available to ordinary apps such as those that a user might install. It is common for Android to include pre-installed third-party system apps, i.e. apps not written by the OS developer,” the research paper noted. “One example is the so-called GApps package of Google apps (which includes Google Play Services, Google Play Store, Google Maps, Youtube etc). Other examples include pre-installed system apps from Microsoft, LinkedIn, Facebook and so on,” it adds…Read more>>