Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission is currently conducting an investigation on one of the fastest growing smartphone companies in the world. According to the Wall Street Journal, “a user using a Xiaomi device reported receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls from abroad,” said a spokesperson from the Data Protection Commission. In addition to the spokesperson comments, they added “The commission is currently investigating the complaint.” Unfortunately, details about the complaint or anything about the user were not provided.
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Earlier this month a security firm called F-Secure looked into the complaint to see if the worlds fastest growing smartphone maker was really sending users data to remote servers in China. Researchers at F-Secure bought a brand new RedMi 1S for the test. They set the phone up, added a contact number to the address book and sent a text message. What they found was surprising. It turns out, that both the phone number and identification number of the phone were sent to a Xiaomi server. Apparently, the server correlates with Xiaomi’s cloud messaging service which sends messages over the internet free of charge. According to Hugo Barra, “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,” he said on their Google Plus page.
It is unclear if this server has to do with anything with the privacy concerns, but people are still complaining. If any organization violates Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act many, disciplinary actions can take affect. Xiaomi can either stop collecting the data, be forced to destroy the data, or provide access to the data. The last disciplinary act that Xiaomi would have to face if the other options are thrown out the window, would to pay a fine of $1 million Singapore dollars — $800,000 stateside. With a problem like this, Xiaomi’s rise to the top can be ruined if this privacy concern turns out to be true. They have recently become one of the leading smartphone makers in China, beating Samsung, but still behind Huawei and Lenovo. Until the investigation is complete and a verdict has been made, let us know what you think about the current dilemma that Xiaomi is facing. Will this privacy concern ruin this fast growing company? Sound off in the comments.