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The research paper, which is the first of its kind to systematically detail the full extent of the privacy and security risks of the pre-installed apps on Android devices, has already attracted the attention of European regulators.In fact, the research team is now working with the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) in order to disseminate this study of Android system apps far and wide.
What makes things difficult for regulators, though, is the fact that Android is an open source OS.
Each of the 214 brands studied by the researchers, presumably, are using a slightly different version of Android.
There is, indeed, an entire ecosystem of pre-installed apps on Android, and many questions to ask about apps notifications, settings for apps, and ways to force stop apps from gaining access to personal data.
At the very least, removing apps from the home screen or apps drawer should be a lot easier than it is now.
Moreover, many of the pre-installed apps on Android are laced with malware, which represents a potential security threat to the user.
Android Research Paper
The research paper, prepared by a team of academics at IMDEA Networks Institute, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Stony Brook University, and the ICSI at Berkeley, provides a comprehensive survey of more than 82,000 apps found on 1,742 devices from 214 different brands.
Tech consumers who purchase brand-new Android smartphones may have absolutely no idea that these devices are fully equipped to start tracking and monitoring them as soon as they are switched on for the first time.
According to a new research paper (“An Analysis of Pre-Installed Android Software”) that will be presented at an upcoming May 2019 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, the pre-installed apps on Android phones can be for data harvesting, tracking and monitoring, all without the knowledge of the user.
In addition to being presented at a long press conference at the IEEE Symposium, the paper will also be presented to working subgroups of the European Commission for Data Protection (ECDP), as well as other European data protection authorities.
Given the momentum behind the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it is quite conceivable that the findings of the paper could eventually be used as evidence in cases against specific device manufacturers or app developers.