Sirwin
Sirwin

Are They Spying On You!!!

By Ronnie10 | CryptoSlice | 3 Oct 2020


0.1 Background

You may have heard about the Mi 10 Ultra. It is one the best phones out there in the market at the moment if not the best one. Some reviewers are saying that this is probably the best phone in 2020 which is meeting all customers requirements and has amazing features. Of course, the camera has improved it is the best camera out there, a fast charging of 120W, a refresh rate of 120Hz and 120 zoom range. I was searching about flaws of the phone itself for about 2 weeks and couldn't find one. There are minor flaws (e.g. no headphone jack and no memory slot). But let's face it, the flagships nowadays are coming without those things. The price of the phone is starting at $760. It is cheaper than any other flagship. So, I ordered one. I had to pay $800+ including the shipping to get it to my country.

Everything was great. I was still searching about other people's camera shots while I was searching for the phone. Until I came across an article about Xiaomi Privacy Issues.

0.2 Xiaomi Privacy Issues

I found an article written in Forbes website about the privacy concerns of Xiaomi privacy. The author of the article was talking about how the Mi Browser is sending all his browsing data to servers in China even when he is in incognito mode! He is saying that the company is saying that the data is sent anonymously. However, he has a screenshot of Wireshark which shows that his phone's ID number is being sent alongside the data which means that it is not entirely anonymous. 

All that article got me concerned. But, it is fine. I can just disable the browser and not use it. But, he is saying that the Chinese company is somehow tracking which folders the user is entering (I just want to point out that I do not get that. I have studied computer science and I do understand the stuff he is talking about. But, this! How is that possible? If we were to assume that this is true, what gain would they get from taking the information of a user tapping on a screen? Seriously? I am not pointing out that he is wrongly accusing the company. But, I need a further explanation on that).

0.3 The Analytics

All of the above caught my attention and I was concerned about the phone that I was getting. So, I have decided to research a little bit more. I directly go to my search engine and I typed "Xiaomi Privacy". I just wanted to see if this is something that people are talking about. Or is it just a one time thing. I wanted to see if the company has a history of privacy concerns from users. Because, I do understand that some of the people who write stuff on the internet will just say that the company that they bought their phone from is the best and other companies are not trustworthy. They might write stuff about Xiaomi because the Chinese giants comes in fifth place in terms of the volume of devices sold in a year. Plus, they are growing each day because, they are the best at providing value-for-money devices.

Anyway, I just don't want to go off topic so much. While I was searching. There was a forum that I do not remember its name. The article was about an incident that someone had with his Xiaomi device installing analytics software without his consent. It's like he just saw it there all of a sudden. The author did not mention if he updated the software or not. But, he just mentioned that it is there now and it is capturing his data and sending it to Chinese servers.

0.4 Other scenarios

I left that aside and continued my search to came across another forum with a guy from UK writing an article in a different forum. He was saying that he was at work and his manager came to him one day asking him "Why is there a Xiaomi device connected to the company's wifi, sending data to Chinese servers?". The writer remembered that he had a colleague who has a Xiaomi device.

0.5 The Comments

This is all what I remember. But, under there are many comments under each thread that I came across. Too many comments were sharing their experience or some other stuff that they have noticed about Xiaomi practices.

0.6 Alternatives /Solution

Ok ok.. So, arguable, if we were to assume that all of the above were true and one should be concerned about the privacy when using the Xiaomi's stock firmware. Are there any alternatives to it?

The answer to that is Yes and luckily Xiaomi has given the user an option to unlock the bootloader and install and firmware on the device. Although, on their website they are saying that this might not be the best practice to keep your data safe and to mitigate malware attacks. But, it is there. They are also saying that you would need to wait a week before getting the option, and you need to ACTIVELY USE THE DEVICEI wrote that in caps because, I didn't get why they need you to use the device actively while waiting a week for the bootloader to be unlocked???

Getting back to the point. I have found two alternatives to the stock firmware.

1. Xiaomi.eu

To be honest, I was glad that the company has given the user a choice of which firmware they would like to use. Plus, so many users are praising this firmware and they are saying that it is flawless. However, I went to the search engine and typed "Xiaomi.eu Privacy". I was surprised that there are users who are saying that some data is being sent to Chinese servers. These posts were not detailed as the above. But, they are there now and I know about it.

2. LineageOS

Too many people are praising this firmware too. But, it is not available yet for Mi 10 Ultra. Therefore, I did not search about the privacy of this. But, I might do that soon. Because, I might be waiting for it to be available for my device.

0.4 Is it only Xiaomi?

I searched that a long time back. It turns out that Xiaomi is not alone in this. All companies have a data privacy policy. But, I did not get into that. Because, this is the first time that I was concerned and the Forbes article was very detailed to the point that I wanted to search more about the matter.

To sum up, you just need to trust the developers behind these firmware builds. 

0.5 What About You?

Lastly, I want to know your opinions.

Do you have a Xiaomi device? What do you do to ensure your data is completely protected? Do you use the stock firmware?

Maybe you have a device from another company. What do you do about privacy issues if you have encountered any?

 

DisclaimerThis is a personal opinion and I am not responsible for the outcomes of your decisions nor the comments posted below or any link in this post. This post should be viewed for entertainment purposes only. I am not working for the above mentioned companies. Do your own research before you make your decision.
I did not write this article to discredit Xiaomi or any other company. I am not saying that they are good or bad. It is just the fact that I came across these results in my searches.

How do you rate this article?

6



CryptoSlice
CryptoSlice

Cryptocurrency Experience

Send a $0.01 microtip in crypto to the author, and earn yourself as you read!

20% to author / 80% to me.
We pay the tips from our rewards pool.