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.”
“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.