Google collected data from the Messages and Phone apps… without telling users

The Google Messages and Google Phone applications, originally installed on a number of smartphones, had secretly collected a certain amount of personal data, without notifying the user in advance.

Google Messages app // Source: Frandroid

google messages And the google phone They are applications used for jobs SMS exchange and calls. Comes pre-installed on millions of devices, including Pixel smartphones and Samsung Galaxy. However, it turns out that they would have collected user data and sent it to Google’s servers, without first informing the user or obtaining their consent, potentially in violation of General Data Protection Regulation established by the European Union.

Data collection without consent

He is the researcher Douglas LeithProfessor of Computer Science at Trinity College (Dublin), who published His search results On this issue at the end of February. It reveals that Google Messages, Calls, and Google Phone apps collected and transmitted data regarding a user’s communications to Google Play Services, as well as the Google Firebase Analytics service.

But what exactly is this data? include hash (hashes in English) for messages, which makes it possible to associate the sender and receiver, as well as their timestamp. The phone app sent information such as call times and durations, as well as phone numbers called.

It seems normal for a certain amount of data to be sent for the proper functioning of applications and communications. However, it is not the case that the user is not informed at any time of the collection of this information. These two apps, which are pre-installed on many phones, do not have a user-viewable privacy policy – a document that Google requires for third-party apps.

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Even worse, if you download your personal data through the platform Google TakeoutThis data is not included.

On their Google Play pages, both apps contain a link to a file Google Privacy Policy. But this is not specific to each of the apps, nor in detail, nor is it given to someone who opens these pre-installed apps on their phone.

Google is well aware of the problem

Douglas Leith shared his findings with Google in November, and made several suggestions and ways to improve them. The company has already implemented some of them. “We have worked constructively with this team to address their feedback, and will continue to do so,” A Google spokesman said, according to the media record.

Douglas Leith’s article raises above all the issue of GDPR compliance: Google should reasonably look into this issue.


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