Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi apologies for siphoning users' data without permission
The company's messaging service had been sending phone numbers back to the company - Xiaomi has now fixed this with a software update
Tuesday 12 August 2014
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has promised to update its mobile operating system after a security firm found that its devices were automatically funnelling personal data back to the company.
A report last week by security group F-Secure found that Xiaomi’s Cloud Messaging service was sending phone numbers back to a “remote server” located in China without asking for users’ permission.
Xiaomi’s Vice President Hugo Barra explained that this was only so that the software could route text messages over the internet to avoid carrier charges (Apple’s iMessage does the same) but added that in the future this would be “op-in”.
“As we believe it is our top priority to protect user data and privacy, we have decided to make MIUI Cloud Messaging an opt-in service and no longer automatically activate users,” wrote Barra on Google+. “We apologize for any concern caused to our users and Mi fans.”
An update to Xiaomi’s Cloud Messaging service was sent out to networks over the weekend, with users now able to opt in to the service through the setting menu on the Mi operating system (Xiaomi’s take on Google’s Android OS).
The looks of Xiaomi's Mi4 smartphone (above) have been compared to Apple's iPhone 5s.
The incident has been one of the first wobbles for the smartphone maker that is often called ‘China’s Apple’. Since launching four years ago under the leadership of Chinese entrepeneur Lei Jun, the company has gone from strength to strength in the Asian pacific region.
Last month it launched a new flagship device, the Mi4, as well as a plastic fitness tracker costing just £8. Last quarter the company reportedly dethroned Samsung as the top smartphone seller in China, shipping 15 million devices and growing 240 per cent compared to last year.
The company’s meteoric rise has been credited to a number of strategies, including selling devices only over the internet at near cost while focusing on building a range of unique software features to lure users away from Android.
Xiaomi has however been criticized for supposedly copying Apple, particularly in the design of its flagship mobile (which feature familiar stainless steel, chamfered edges) and its mini tablets (which have the same screen size and resolution as the iPad mini, as well as the plastic colours of the iPhone 5C).
Barra (who previously worked at Google) told The Verge that these allegations are only “sweeping sensationalist statements,” adding: "If you have two similarly skilled designers, it makes sense that they would reach the same conclusion.”
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Former boxer recalls incident when he was seven years old
Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser
Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study
Want to ward off (or welcome) trick-or-treaters? Here's how
Life & Style blogs
How to carve a pumpkin for Halloween with this step-by-step tutorial
Five year old British boy becomes youngest ever qualified computer specialist
Health: When masturbation can be fatal: The practice of auto-erotic asphyxia is often concealed by a coroner's verdict. Monique Roffey looks at a lethal taboo
Woman successfully sues Google for showing her with 'part of her breast exposed' on Street View
Sex with more than 20 women 'reduces risk of prostate cancer'
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
- 5 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...
£24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...
£25 - 32k DOE: Guru Careers: A digital-savvy Marketing Account Manager / Clien...