MIUI does not secretly send user data to Chinese govt servers: Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra

Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra has come out in defence of the company which has been under criticism off late regarding silent uploads to servers in China from its RedMi Note phablet.


The RedMi Note series has been a hot seller in China and will be launched in India soon. Most of the times, the phone has sold out within minutes of its arrival on the e-store. But a report in the Taiwanese website TechNews.Tw has dampened mood of Xiaomi fans and Redmi Note users.


RedMi Note was found to be stealthily sending data back to a server hosted in China over Wi-Fi. When a user disconnects from Wi-Fi, the transmission still occurs using a handshake, which requires low data and power. The report recounts a forum post on IMA Mobile by user Kenny Li, who discovered that his RedMi Note has been connecting to an IP address in China and transferring data back to the server when he is operating in Wi-Fi mode. Li says that that even if you root the phone and flash it with another firmware, the background transmission continues, and hints that the process is hard coded into the hardware.


According to Li, pictures, SMSes and other messages get sent to the Chinese servers which belong CCNCI, a Chinese Internet company. Barra, who is leading Xiaomi’s global foray, said on Google+ that the original article misinterpreted the forum thread which led to the issue being brought up. "The article neglected to refer to a Chinese version of this Q and A already posted on the Xiaomi Hong Kong Facebook page. MIUI does not secretly upload photos and text messages."


Barra added that the connection was established by the MIUI firmware as it requests public data such as preset greeting messages in the messaging app and OTA update details from Xiaomi servers at regular intervals. Barra added that this communication contained "all non-personal data that does not infringe on user privacy."


He further added: "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," added Barra.


Xiaomi made a cracking debut in India with the Mi 3 which has sold out all its inventory put on sale so far, while Redmi Note will be available in India soon.

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