The Red Rice Note 8 is one of the best-selling Android smartphones of 2019, according to market research firm Canalys Data Analytics. Recently, however, a security researcher accused Xiaomi’s phone and web browser of collecting users’ private data, such as details about which apps and files were opened. In a blog post Friday, Xiaomi responded that the statistics were intended to optimize program response and performance and did not involve identifiable identification information.
Infographic (from: Xiaomi official website)
On Thursday, Forbes quoted several security researchers as saying the company was collecting network history and phone data, such as the tragic Android version of the unique number used to identify special devices.
Security researcher Gabi Cirlig told Forbes that specific users can be identified by the data collected and the identification number.
And the default browser on Red Meter Note 8 records any site that a user visits, including every piece of content viewed in search engine queries and news feeds.
Even browsing in incognito mode, this tracking doesn’t seem to stop. There are also open folders and screen swipes that are sent to the company’s leased Alibaba Cloud server.
While third-party browsers including Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are also collecting aggregated user information, including URL access, these manufacturers have also published details on how to protect data.
Google says Chrome collects ‘anonymous random data’ about usage that is not related to user identifiers.
Mozilla also launched a program in 2017 to collect usage data for Firefox users and protect them in a privacy-difference manner to make it more difficult to locate specific personal data.
But Xiaomi argued that Forbes misunderstood the company’s data privacy principles and policies and denied any wrongdoing. Because the history of the web browser is synchronized only if the user has enabled the feature in the settings.
Xiaomi considers the privacy and security of users to be a top priority, and we will strictly adhere to user privacy laws and regulations worldwide.
Of course, whether it’s Apple iOS or Google’s Android mobile operating system, privacy issues are all part of the story.
Typically, researchers have to delve into these devices to see how third-party apps collect and send data to advertisers about their user location and usage.