What Information We Collect

The information the FCC Speed Test App ("Application") collects is limited to information used to measure your mobile broadband service. Your location and time when a test is run, and IP address when data is uploaded to our servers is collected and used in processing your results. We do not collect personally identifiable information, such as name, phone number, or identifiers associated with your device. We collect five kinds of information to measure the performance of your mobile broadband service.

  • Location
    • Information we collect about you and your device: Your wireless network name ("SSID") and your physical location when using the App (optional, see below).
      • When using the App you will be prompted to grant access to location information both whilst using the App, and in the background. The App captures location information in order to show you a history of where you have carried out tests using the App. We also use this location information in aggregate with many other users' location information collected by the App, in order to provide aggregated network performance and coverage statistics. You do not need to grant access to location information to use the App, but you will be unable to view a map of your historical tests if you do not.
  • Time of Data Collection
    • We record the times when the Application performs measurements of your mobile broadband performance. This is necessary because some measurements function by recording a start and end time.
  • Device Type and Operating System Version
    • When the Application starts, we record the manufacturer and model of device you are using, and the version of the operating system installed on your device.
  • Cellular Performance and Characteristics
    • We collect information about your cellular device performance, such as your service provider, the strength of the radio signal, and what type of connection and service you have.
  • Broadband Performance
    • The Application tests your mobile broadband upload and download rate, round trip latency, and packet loss measured between your device and our servers managed by the FCC, the FCC contractor, and other project partners.

This data is stored on your device in the Application’s sandbox (a protected private area for the Application) for you to review, and periodically is uploaded to our servers. You may delete older data periodically from your device. You can find more detail in the FCC’s technical summary of this program. https://www.fcc.gov/measuring-broadband-america/mobile/technical-summary.html

Data Sharing

The data we collect is helpful for consumers, the FCC, and others interested in understanding mobile broadband in the United States. We share your mobile broadband performance information in four ways.

  • Internally

    We may share your mobile broadband performance information within the FCC to write our Measuring Broadband America Report on Mobile Performance and to support our development of broadband policy.
  • Third-Party Partners Who Help Us Run Our Test and Support Our Program

    We share your mobile broadband performance information with our contractor who manages the measurement program, with partners who support the program and architecture, and with partners supporting our analysis or contributing peer reviews. We share data subject to agreements that include strict requirements to safeguard the data, not disclose the data, and use data only in furtherance of the goals of the program.

    The FCC has contracted with a broadband measurement company, SamKnows, to help manage the program and conduct its technical functions. SamKnows performs functions such as writing and maintaining the software that performs the test measurements, responding to customer service requests, managing the Application and the execution of tests, collecting and protecting data gathered in the trial, and providing analysis and support for the preparation of FCC reports. The terms of our contract with SamKnows include obligations to protect the data and your privacy.

    Research platforms and your carrier may support various aspects of the testing and architecture for the program. We may share your detailed mobile performance data with these partners supporting our data processing and analysis for the specific purpose of identifying patterns in the data and recommending ways of addressing any concerns for your privacy and anonymity. The FCC directs researchers, its contractor, and your carrier working under non-disclosure agreements (NDA) to analyze the collected data for privacy risks or concerns and to plan for future measurement efforts.

    Researchers and other partners supporting this analysis are skilled in the field of statistics and computer science work to identify patterns that a third party might exploit in ways to compromise your privacy, for example, by comparing the location information with other sources of information. If we find concerns, we will take steps to address the risks by making the time, location, or other information less specific; limiting the combinations of information we release; or deleting information. These partners are required to sign an NDA and must agree to data-handling practices that safeguard the data. The NDA prohibits any public disclosure of the data except in the form of a report to the FCC, limits both the access duration and specific research purposes of data, and requires disclosures if the data is ever compromised in any way.
  • Pursuant to legitimate requests by law enforcement or where otherwise required by law or regulation
    • We may share mobile broadband performance data collected by this Application subject to legitimate requests by law enforcement or where otherwise required by law or regulation.
  • De-Identified Data Available to the Public

    We will publish de-identified data in summary statistics, coarsened data, and other minimally necessary datasets that support our review of the statistics only if we determine that the data poses very low risks to your privacy. These include:
    • Summary Data

      We will publish averages and other summary statistics that describe important features of mobile broadband performance. These summary statistics pose very low risks to your privacy.
    • Coarsened Data

      We will publish only de-identified data in a coarsened form that supports the averages and other statistics that we publish in our reports. Prior to release of this data, the FCC and researchers skilled in the field of statistics and computer science will identify patterns in the raw data that could be exploited to compromise your privacy. If we find concerns, we will take steps to address the risks by making the time, location or other information less specific; limiting the combinations of information we release; or deleting information.

      For example, the analysis we perform would identify and address risks from a third party combining the location information in the data we collect with other sources of information to try to identify your device in our database. We will publicly release the results of this analysis to ensure the quality of our review, and will also describe the measures we took to protect your anonymity. We will release information about the time or location of measurements only after reviewing the risks and making any changes to the precise data necessary to minimize the risk of individual volunteers being identified from the de-identified data.

    Data Consumption

    By default, the Application is configured to use no more than 100 megabytes (MB) of data each month for automated testing. Any additional tests you initiate will also consume between 100 kilobytes (kB) for the smallest packet loss test and 40MB for a complete suite of tests. At any time, you can change the amount of data the Application uses by increasing or reducing the “monthly data cap” in the settings menu. You should ensure that your monthly broadband usage, including the data used by the Application and Service during the Program, does not exceed the data allowance included in your mobile broadband package. Your carrier may charge you for any data used in excess of your package’s data allowance.

    Stopping Your Participation

    If at any time you want to stop participating in this program, simply delete the Application and the accompanying data, and the Application will not collect further data. Any data collected prior to the deletion of the Application will remain in the data sets subject to the above terms and protections.

    Other terms of use of the Application


Thursday, February 18, 2021