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July 31, 2014

Hugo Barra responds to Xiaomi’s privacy issues

Hugo Barra, Vice President of Xiaomi Global, has published a Q&A on his Facebook page in response to online reports that the Xiaomi Redmi Note has been sending data to Chinese servers without the user’s permission.

According to Barra, the articles have “severely misinterpreted a discussion thread asking about the Redmi Note’s communication with a server in China.” He also stated that “MIUI does not secretly upload photos and text messages.

redmi note_2

“MIUI requests public data from Xiaomi servers from time to time. These include data such as preset greeting messages (thousands of jokes, holiday greetings and poems) in the Messaging app and MIUI OTA update notifications, i.e. all non-personal data that does not infringe on user privacy.”

As to the question if Xiaomi uploads personal data without the user’s knowledge, his answer is no. Barra explains that Xiaomi offers a service called the Mi Cloud that enables the users to back up their data in the cloud. It’s turned off by default and can only be turned on manually. Strict encryption algorithms are also implemented to protect user privacy.

“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.”

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28 Responses to “Hugo Barra responds to Xiaomi’s privacy issues”

  1. Christian says:

    Whew, what a relief. I bought the Mi 3 on the first flash day here in the Philippines.

    • Jaybob says:

      We cant trust a company’s mouthpiece. Go buy at your own RISK. You will never know when that data will be used against you.

  2. AA says:

    You mean Xiaomi servers are located at the Chinese Ministry of Information? Because based on reports, that’s where the IP address is registered. Also, can you explain how come it still sends data even though the MiCloud option is off? It was specifically written in the report that the user turned that option OFF.

    • BB says:

      Exactly. I don’t trust Chinese phone companies at all. The US government banned some Chinese handsets to enter their stores because they have found out that they send data to China.

      I am not convinced Hugo Barra is honest.

    • AA says:

      Kahit nakaroot nadaw yung phone nagsesend parin

  3. classi says:

    ask him when is the release of mi4 in philippines lol

  4. Easy E says:

    Syempre yan ang sasabihin nila.

  5. Bench says:

    The Star N9500 handset was being sold for about £120 on eBay
    Continue reading the main story
    Related Stories

    Thieves ‘customising’ malware code
    Samsung tackles Android malware
    Viruses ‘installed in PC factory’
    EBay is barring listings for a smartphone after reports the model is pre-installed with spyware in its Chinese factory.

    A German security firm reported on China made smartphone sent personal data to a computer server in China, adding that the Trojan could not be removed.

    It said the malware was disguised as the legitimate Google Play Store app.

    The handset remains on sale on Amazon, which could not be reached for comment.

    But eBay said it was rolling out the ban globally.

    “Due to reports that some china smartphones are loaded with spyware, eBay is not allowing the sale of these devices as a precautionary measure,” a spokesman told the BBC.

    Intercepted calls

    Amazon is still listing the model from third-party sellers
    Although the brand Star is far from being a household name, the handset may have appealed to some customers because of its close resemblance to the Samsung Galaxy S4 coupled with the fact it sells for about a third of the cost.

    Security firm G Data said it was alerted to the case after receiving tip-offs from its customers.

    “The spyware runs in the background and cannot be detected by users,” it said.

    “Unbeknownst to the user, the smartphone sends personal data to a server located in China and is able to covertly install additional applications.

    “This makes it possible to retrieve personal data, intercept calls and online banking data, read emails and text messages or control the camera and microphone remotely.

    “The program also blocks the installation of security updates.”

    The Associated Press news agency has reported that although several Shenzhen-based firms used eBay and other sites to sell the model, it had been unable to track down the manufacturer.

    G Data identified the malware involved as being Android.Trojan.Uupay.D
    If the allegations are true, it is not known whether the manufacturer itself would have been aware of what was being done at its plant.

    This is not the first time that a Chinese factory has been accused of shipping devices preinstalled with malware.

    In 2012 Microsoft reported that several PC makers in the country had been found to load malicious programs onto their computers.

    Then, last year German firm E-Plus reported that some of its China-made Android smartphones were being shipped with SD memory cards infected with a computer worm.

  6. lex says:

    Excuses again….
    Remember USA CIA already warned about this spying act. of Chinese phone companies cge bili pa….

  7. papot says:

    Well, they could spy all they want if ever this is true. What they’d get from an ordinary citizen like me? Nothing…. in short, bibili p rn ako ng xiaomi.hehe

    • AA says:

      Just think about it. If they can get data from you, what will prevent them from being able to make calls to pay-per-call sites? Or worse, access your online banking passwords? Huwag ka magreklamo kung bigla ka nalang makakita ng transaction na di mo ginawa.

    • AA says:

      Just think about it. If they can get data from you, what will prevent them from being able to make calls to pay-per-call sites? Or worse, access your online banking passwords? Huwag ka magreklamo kung bigla ka nalang makakita ng transaction na di mo ginawa. Tapos sisisihin nyo bank nyo pag nangyari yun

    • itachi says:

      only intelligent people knows what to do with your boring data…

  8. Shutter says:

    tanong mo na lang sa kanila kung ilalabas ba nila sa Pilipinas ang mga bagong products nila? or baka balak na naman nila ilabas pag meron na bagong successor?

  9. patrick says:

    buy at your own risk, and suffer the consequences later. china has a grand ambition of dominating the world, and it’s already starting right in asia. look at what they are doing with regards to the disputefd south china sea. it is violating international agreements and ignoring calls for diplomacy and already acting like it owns the territory. china, as well as north korea, is a bully. imagine them having control over your personal data. they can use it in anything just to get ahead of everybody.

  10. Peter says:

    Using Smartphones to spy on us! malamang magmamalinis yan kaya nga ang mura para madami bumili sorry Xiaomi you just ruined your image!!! Chinese Spies!!!

  11. reddata says:

    I can make the same story and post it on any public or social media site. most of the people now believe everything they read in social media hehe.

  12. weh says:

    kelan kaya nila ipapalabas un clone na xiomi phone?? bawal ba sa tsina gayahin un produto galing din sa kanila.hehehe

  13. Andrew says:

    maybe this would ease up your minds about this privacy issue
    http://www.lowyat.net/2014/07/did-xiaomi-really-install-spyware-on-the-redmi-note/
    “the screenshots taken as “evidence” of data uploads were merely pings to Xiaomi servers to initiate a download. The article also shows that the IP addresses the Redmi Note were pinging to belonged to a company called Forest Eternal Communication Tech. Co. Ltd, which is the Internet Data Center where Xiaomi hosts its servers”

  14. none says:

    malamang sa malamang eh nanginginig sa takot yang mga yan pag nag-i-install ng app at nakikita ang ‘network’ o ‘data’ sa mga permission.

    sana may sumagot sa mga duwakang.

    ano anong apps lang ang naka install sa mga phone niyo?

    .rotflmao.

  15. none says:

    http://blog.gsmarena.com/regarding-xiaomi-data-leaking-controversy-editorial/

    “We just wanted to make it clear that as an editorial team we stand behind them and for us it seems there is no truth to these allegations. Indeed, [b]we may have helped aggravate the situation by reporting it rather… bluntly. [/b]“

    • Andrew says:

      “We also shouldn’t be too quick to put our tinfoil hats on. Maybe the Chinese government is doing all it can do get its hands on as much personal data as it can. But so is the US government, using American manufacturers, who would readily submit your personal data to the authorities if a court orders it (or just because the NSA thought that is appropriate). Unfortunately, it’s just the world we live in.”

      You want privacy? Live in a cave, away from technology.

  16. Anony Mouse says:

    Kasalukuyang kumakalat na sa Chinese Ministry of (dis)Information ang video scandal ni Paolo Bediones. LoL.

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