Xiaomi accused of collecting users’ data without their knowledge

A security specialist accuses Xiaomi of collecting large volume of private data even in incognito mode, including activity on the internet. Xiaomi denies and ensures that the collection is anonymous and respects the legal framework.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8

Since the Huawei affair which led to its exclusion from the American market, hardware and software of Chinese origin have been the subject of close surveillance across the Atlantic. New accusations of espionage surface with the revelations of Gabi Cirlig. Security expert implicates Xiaomi in a private data collection case. A serious leak since, according to him, it concerns not only all navigation information, but also data relating to settings and the use of his smartphone.

Gabi Cirlig claims that his Redmi Note 8 monitors his activity by collecting a large volume of private data which reveals his identity and his activity on the internet. This data would then be sent and stored on Alibaba servers that Xiaomi rents to the Chinese tech giant. The specialist specifies that there is nothing to interrupt the transmission, including navigation in “incognito” mode.

If confirmed, these accusations are already worrisome because of the nature of the elements collected, but they still worsen with their mode of transmission. According to the security expert, they would be transmitted almost in clear, therefore accessible to all. Xiaomi would use simple base 64 encoding. Gabi Cirlig points out that the other Xiaomi models probably have the same faults. As a reminder, the Chinese brand is the fourth largest smartphone manufacturer in the world with more than 30 million units sold in the first quarter of 2020.

Xiaomi formally denies any collection of personal data

The Chinese manufacturer takes the matter very seriously, and is quick to respond to the charges of espionage. In a statement, Xiaomi says that Gabi Cirlig’s claims are false. The company specifies that the safety of its users is a matter of primary importance. The firm nevertheless recognizes that it collects data made anonymous within the legal framework. Contrary to the statements of Gabi Cirlig, the Chinese manufacturer would not collect anything when the incognito mode is activated.

In front of the videos of the security expert which show that the Redmi Note 8 transmits its searches on Google even in private mode, the firm continues to deny: “This video shows the collection of anonymous browsing data, which is one of the most common solutions adopted by Internet companies to improve the overall experience of navigation products by analyzing non-personal information. ” Pending further study to corroborate or refute Gabi Cirlig’s accusations, Xiaomi has just announced that it will update its internet browser to allow users to disable the sending of data, even anonymous.

Contact the author: carolray@wheelsjoint.com

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