India’s top smartphone brand Xiaomi is frequently under the radar for its privacy issues. Xiaomi’s privacy issues are always a matter of concern and now there is a new development and the brand is accused of recording the data of millions of its users. The incident is reported by Forbes.
The Matter: Xiaomi’s Privacy Issues
In a recent development, one of the cybersecurity researchers, Gabi Cirlig actually discovered that his Redmi Note 8 smartphone was “watching much of what he was doing on his phone”.
So in this case the smartphone tracked the data and sent the data to remote servers hosted by the Chinese firm, Alibaba.
Upon further investigation Gabi found out that Xiaomi’s browser was keeping the record of all the visited websites by default and this also included the search activities on the Google search and DuckDuckGo too. And he also noticed that the device was tracking his surfing activities even in the incognito mode.
The smartphone was also tracking the opening of files and folders and the swiping of screens and a lot of other stuff.
This data was compiled and then sent to remote servers based in Russia and Singapore that are hosted by web domains that are registered in Beijing.
After investigating more, Gabi found that Mi 10, Redmi K20, and other Xiaomi smartphones were also doing the same thing after he downloaded the firmware of these devices.
One of the other cybersecurity researchers, Andrew Tierney also found that Xiaomi browsers that are the Mi Browser Pro and the Mint Browser listed on the Google Play Store were also collecting similar data.
In its response to the Forbes, Xiaomi has denied all these allegations and said that the research claims are false. Xiaomi said that privacy and security are its top concerns and it “strictly follows and compiles to the local law and regulations on user data privacy.”
On the other hand, a spokesperson from Xiaomi did confirm that Xiaomi was indeed collecting browsing data and that the information was anonymized so it can’t be identified as someone’s particular info. They denied the claims of Xiaomi collecting surfing data on the incognito mode.
To counter this, Forbes availed a video shared by Gabi to Xiaomi. In the video, he showed that when he searched “Porn” in the Google search and visited PornHub, the data was sent to the remote servers even in the incognito mode. To this the spokesperson responded, “This video shows the collection of data, which is one of the most common solutions adopted by the internet companies to improve the overall browser product experience through analyzing non-personally identifiable information.”
Xiaomi has not responded to the raised questions related to the monitoring of app usage and sending that data to remote servers.
Xiaomi is the fourth-largest smartphone brand in the world and Xiaomi’s privacy issues are a real problem as it has data of millions of users.
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