A new study reveals our own smartphones are constantly tracking our movements after every 3 minutes – Our apps love to know where are we.
It is a widely known fact that smartphone apps collect a huge amount of data regularly. The data usually includes users’ location information. But startling new facts on this data collection spree have been revealed by Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in their study.
According to the study findings, our smartphones can collect location data very frequently that is, after every 3 minutes.
Researchers asked 23 individuals to normally use their phones and then the team tracked location data requests made by every single device through specially designed software.
It was identified that a lot of popular Android apps were involved in tracking a user at an average 6,200 times during a two-week period, which means after every three-minute duration.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
“Even apps that provided useful location-based services often requested the device’s location far more frequently than would be necessary to provide that service, the researchers said. The Weather Channel, for example, which provides local weather reports, requested device location an average 2,000 times, or every 10 minutes, during the study period. Groupon, which necessarily gathers location data to offer local deals, requested one participant’s coordinates 1,062 times in two weeks.”
Few of the apps are already installed on a majority of smartphones and cannot be deleted easily. Researchers also investigated whether users in any way can benefit from these “nudges” imposed by the software or appreciate the fact that sensitive data is being collected by the installed apps.
They found that after learning about the location data collection aspect, many users changed their mobile’s settings.
The study and its findings will be made public at CHI 2015 conference.
Read the study below in PDF: