Saturday, 30 May 2020

Xiaomi responds to mobile data harvesting claims

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Monday 04 May 20

The Chinese mobile vendor has answered critics by claiming the data is anonymised

Last week, a report from Forbes claimed that Xiaomi’s mobile phones were collecting user data and sending it to Chinese servers, even when being operated in incognito mode.   The report noted that the devices were recording everything searched on the web…

Last week, a report from Forbes claimed that Xiaomi’s mobile phones were collecting user data and sending it to Chinese servers, even when being operated in incognito mode.
 
The report noted that the devices were recording everything searched on the web, regardless if this was done with Google or with DuckDuckgo, as well as recording the folders being opened and which screens were being accessed.
 
Specific browsers shipped by Xiaomi – Mi Browser Pro and Mint Browser – were also reportedly tracking this data.
 
Now, Xiaomi has responded to these allegations, saying that the data collected is anonymised and is used for performance monitoring purposes. The Chinese mobile phone vendor also admitted that ‘aggregated data’, including URLs, were recorded even in incognito mode. However, it claimed that none of this data collection was underhand and that it was entirely compliant with privacy laws.
 
"Our user's privacy and internet security is of top priority at Xiaomi," said a spokesperson. "We are confident that we strictly follow and are fully compliant with local laws and regulations.”
 
Nonetheless, alongside their official response today, Xiaomi has also announced updates for its Mi Browser Pro and Mint Browser internet browsers, which will now allow users to turn off aggregated data collection while in incognito mode.
 
This data privacy scandal comes at a sensitive time for the Chinese company, as trust in the security of Chinese products dips to an all-time low as a result of the ongoing trade feud with the US. 
 
Just a week ago, the FCC threatened to revoke the operating licences of four Chinese companies – China Telecom, China Unicom, Pacific Networks, and CommNet – giving them 30 days to prove they are not compromised by the Chinese Communist Party. 
 
 
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