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

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.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Web Design Apprentice

    £6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well established websit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: .Net / SQL Developer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A skilled .NET developer with e...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer - PC/Mac

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee