Xiaomi has been fairly popular as of late with low priced devices with decent specs like the RedMi Note and the recently announced Mi 4. However popular their devices may be now though, it seems that the issue of privacy has begun to arise with the Chinese electronics brand over concerns that the RedMi Note is sending unauthorized data uploads of images and SMS messages to a server on the Chinese mainland. Before everyone grabs their pitchforks and immediately shuns Xiaomi for these claims despite some of the wonderful products that they have been putting out, it’s important to remember that there is no founded evidence of this and Xiaomi does appear to have an explanation for the claim.
For starters, the claim states that the RedMi Note would periodically connect to a Chinese server on the mainland of the region and upload image and sms data to servers within the country. This would all happen while the phone was in WiFi mode according to a user on the IMA-Mobile forums in a discussion thread about cellphones, where the user Kenny Li started relaying his claims and concerns to the rest of forum. Li’s claims also state that this process of data collection and sending of information would continue to happen despite his removal of the software that was built into the RedMI Note. With such issues as privacy and government spying being extremely touch subjects these days, it’s easy to understand how this would raise concerns for some.
Of course Xiaomi had quickly gotten wind of this and was prompt at delivering a response to the claims that they had helped collect data from users on this device without their knowledge, as any company would do so that they could try and protect their company image in regards to taking customer privacy seriously. Xiaomi’s statement is such that they say the claims about the data collection(or user information infringement as Xiaomi is referring to it)are false, a statement made during the announcement of the Mi 4 device which is Xiaomi’s new flagship for this year. In regards to the action of connecting to the Chinese server, Xiaomi says this purely a collection of personal preference calculations, not actual information data, which helps Xiaomi to provide a better user experience through software upgrades and recommendations of apps. The auto-backup feature also apparently comes disabled according to Xiaomi, so the collection of preference calculation is something that sounds like it has to be enabled by the user in the first place, which could be exactly what happened in this scenario. In short, we shouldn’t be rushing to burn anyone at the stake.