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Schmidt, a computer science professor at Vanderbilt University, arrives at some stark conclusions regarding how much Google is collecting about consumers who use the company's products, even when they aren't interacting with their smartphones and tablets.Among several findings, Schmidt's experiments found that an idle Android phone with Chrome web browser active in the background communicated location information to Google 340 times during a 24-hour period.
For example, on an Android device, so-called "anonymous" advertising identifiers that collect activity data on apps and third-party web page visits can get associated with a user's real Google identity by the passing of device-level identification information to Google servers.
The same goes for the supposedly user-anonymous Double Click cookie ID, which tracks a user's activity on third-party web pages.
Android is an operating system which is mostly used for mobiles, but is also used in other devices.
The main aim of this research paper is to identify Android, to know its history, usability, how secure it is, and to manifest its performance.
If a user declines, no data is collected by Apple unless they choose to opt in at a later time.
Apple executives have said several times that Apple customers are not the company's product, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has maintained that privacy is a fundamental human right.
Directed by computer science professor Douglas Schmidt, the research found that around two-thirds of the data Google collected or inferred from an Android user occurred in the background, when users were not notified that their data was being shared.
Even when an Android mobile was entirely stationary and idle over the course of 24 hours, the device still sent about 900 data samples to Google.
Overall, an idle Android device was found to communicate with Google nearly 10 times more often than an Apple device communicates with Apple servers.
As well as data transmission frequencies, Schmidt's research also turned up some of the ways that Google can potentially tie together anonymous data collected through passive means with the personal information of its users.