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Any apps installed on smartphones by default. Additionally, a few of these apps are also non-removable. Irrespective of the fact whether you use these apps or not, these apps are lying on your smartphone. Even though the users can install and remove apps, the same is not valid for the tracking and surveillance apps ingrained in the smartphone. It is a known fact that smartphones, along with the default apps and the third-party apps, engage in the tracking of the users; however, the critical question is how they do that and what exactly the data is used for. 

Who Collects The Data Of Smartphones?

Many websites track their users mostly with their consent by making them accept the website cookies or, sometimes, by tracking their IP addresses to improve the marketing campaign. Use What Is My IP to know the IP address of your device. However, with smartphones, the scenario is different. Firstly, smartphone manufacturers are the primary collector of the data available on the smartphone. Most of these data are telemetry data along with identifier data like the device’s serial number. 

The Types Of Data Collected 

Most of the smartphones working on LineageOS send data to the developers to help them work towards better operational stability. However, even though there is an option to disable the data transmission, it does not entirely put the data transmission to a halt. 


Secondly, preinstalled apps also extract data from smartphone devices. Most of these apps belong to Google. Interestingly, according to Google’s policy, all the apps a user installs from Google Apps have an identifier to track the user’s activity. However, the pre installed Google apps do not have any such requirement. Instead, it has persistent identifiers, which can collect plenty of data. 


Furthermore, the system keyboard of the smartphone also collects information regarding the apps the users run on their smartphones. Additionally, preinstalled apps which are not even opened by the apps are powerful enough to collect information about the phone’s owner. Many surveys have revealed that Google apps are the ones which collect most of the user’s data. 


The data relating to device models or firmware versions are broadly similar for the owners of the same smartphone models, and this data is often required to give better services to them. However, the real risk is associated with the user activity data that extracts plenty of information about the smartphone owner. 


In other words, there is a thin line between the data collected to improve a software or operating system and the data collected to create a detailed user profile. 

The Dangers Of The Data 

Even though the data collected does not come with identifying information such as the user’s name or phone, it is still risky for the users. It is because even anonymous location information, when studied deeply, can reveal a lot about the users. Furthermore, these data are collected, stored, and sold, which places smartphone owners at great risk. 


Also, we have third-party apps which go the extra mile to collect information such as the age and gender of the owner promising them a more personalized experience. Research has again indicated that a few large big tech companies also own most of the third-party apps. In other words, a handful of tech companies possess a large amount of informational data about the user. It further gives rise to the monopoly of these companies. Lastly, these collected data can be helpful and harmful to the users. It all depends on what purpose the collected data is used. 

How To Stop Data Collection?

Both Android and iOS devices offer their users to disable data collection. Primarily, the user should disable the advertising ID on their smartphone to stop the companies from collecting the data. In addition, the users should individually check all the apps installed on the smartphone to see what data is being collected. Furthermore, it is recommended to keep the location off until and unless required. 


The only good news about the data transmission that is taking place via smartphone is that it is secure. Therefore, outsiders have little access to this data. However, still, smartphone owners should be mindful of the apps installed on their smartphone and the type of data it collects to protect their digital identity. 



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