10 votes

Study reveals scale of data-sharing from Android mobile phones

2 comments

  1. [2]
    nutax
    Link
    In the study they say Google gathers data on the LineageOS and on the /e/OS they do not. The /e/OS is a fork of the LineageOS and it uses the MicroG implementation of the Google services. I wonder...

    In the study they say Google gathers data on the LineageOS and on the /e/OS they do not. The /e/OS is a fork of the LineageOS and it uses the MicroG implementation of the Google services. I wonder why they have installed the OpenGapps on the LineageOS instead of the MicroG that /e/OS uses, and if that's the reason LineageOS gets worse results.
    By default, the LineageOS does not come with OpenGapps or with MicroG.

    Are the people who made the study trying to make the /e/OS look better than the LineageOS on purpose? Are they incompetent? Or, is there another reason for the results?

    3 votes
    1. hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      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: So it seems like the only reason for the data...

      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×.

      2 votes