Xiaomi Smartphone Spying on User Data and Secretly transfering it to Chinese Servers
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has been called out for spying on user’s personal data using their smartphones. According to a new report, the Xiaomi Redmi Note has been detected to be transferring photos in media storage, and text messages to a server in Beijing China. This has further fueled speculations about the Chinese government spying on users and organisations overseas through mobiles made by Chinese manufacturers.
A user using the Xiaomi Redmi Note published screenshots of his device claiming that the device is always connected to an IP Address in China. According to him, this server is receiving photos and texts from the phone when the user was connected to WiFi or 3G . Apparently, the transfer does not stop even after the phone is flashed with a different firmware.
This could have been a case of Xiaomi’s cloud service that is backing up user data, which the company had confirmed is done on cloud servers in China, but the reports also said that the MiCloud backup feature on the MiUI had been turned off on the phone when the transfer was taking place. A reader from PhoneArena pointed out that the Chinese government may be involved. According to the PhoneArena report, looking up the website of the company owning the IP Address reveals that, “CNNIC is the governing body responsible for Internet affairs under the Ministry of Information Industry of the People’s Republic of China. It is based in high tech district Zhongguancun of Beijing.” During the Xiaomi Mi3 launch event in Delhi, we had raised the question of the geographical location of the servers where user data was being backed up, and Hugo Barra, VP International operations for Xiaomi, had revealed that the backup was being stored on Amazon’s cloud servers.
Xiaomi has been creating a lot of waves in the global smartphone market, with devices that are priced obscenely low for the hardware that they bring. The company recently launched its Mi3 smartphone in India, which has gone out of stock twice – once in 38 minutes and 50 seconds and the second time in 5 seconds. Further, many users in India have showed concerns about such spying by the Chinese government since the company’s launch event.