Xiaomi Says Its Smartphones Do Not Secretly Upload Photos, Text Messages

Xiaomi Says Its Smartphones Do Not Secretly Upload Photos, Text Messages
A report on Monday claimed that Xiaomi, the popular Chinese handset maker often referred to as China's Apple, was sending user information from Redmi Note smartphones to China-based servers.

Xiaomi on Wednesday refuted the report, calling it "severely misinterpreted." Hugo Barra, Vice President, Xiaomi Global, in a Google+ post tried to address the privacy concerns about Xiaomi smartphones raised by the report.

Barra said, "An article severely misinterpreted a discussion thread asking about the Redmi Note's communication with a server in China. The article also neglected to refer to a Chinese version of this Q and A already posted on the Xiaomi Hong Kong Facebook page. MIUI does not secretly upload photos and text messages."

The report had claimed that the Xiaomi Redmi Note was automatically connecting to an IP address hosted in China and sending data back when connected to a Wi-Fi network. The data transmitted to the China-based server allegedly included photos in media storage, and text messages.

Referring to the allegation of being connected to China-hosted servers, Barra revealed that MIUI (the company's proprietary skin running on top of Android on it smartphones) requests public data such as preset greeting messages (jokes, holiday greetings and poems) in the messaging app from Xiaomi servers at regular intervals. Further, Barra says MIUI also checks for OTA update notifications via Xiaomi servers based in China. Barra says these communications between MIUI-based Xiaomi smartphones and the China-based server contain "all non-personal data that does not infringe on user privacy."

The post further disambiguated that Xiaomi smartphones do not upload any personal data to the cloud (Mi Cloud or servers) without user's knowledge.

"Xiaomi is serious about user privacy and takes all possible steps to ensure our Internet services adhere to our privacy policy. We do not upload any personal information and data without the permission of users. In a globalized economy, Chinese manufacturers' handsets are selling well internationally, and many international brands are similarly successful in China - any unlawful activity would be greatly detrimental to a company's global expansion efforts," added Barra.

You can read Hugo Barra's complete response to the Xiaomi spying allegations.


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