The Indian market has proven to be more than just crucial for Xiaomi, a company that only into its 5th year of existence. The first couple of years were easygoing for the Chinese OEM, simply because it was hardly known outside of China, and it intimidated no one. However, times have changed, and Xiaomi's looking at the top 5 makers list on the globe now; that's how much the company has grown in the short span of time.
However, with great popularity, comes great criticism, great responsibility and what not. Xiaomi learnt this the hard way a couple months back when a Taiwanese security firm 'found' that the company had been accessing and storing users' data without consent. It was said that the Mi Cloud Messaging app that comes bundled with the MIUI ROM (default for Xiaomi devices) send personal data back to Xiaomi servers. According to Xiaomi, this was a feature about which users weren't notified beforehand. Xiaomi was quick to release an over the air (OTA) update to make it an opt-in feature rather than standard, which the accusing firm also acknowledged.
More recently, talks about a particular organization (IAF: Indian Air Force) 'banning' the use of Xiaomi smartphones started to appear. While we couldn't confirm or deny any part of this, we did reach out to Xiaomi to get an official word. Xiaomi responded with three main points to us, as listed below:
- Xiaomi does not collect any information without user permission
- The concerns raised by F-Secure have been fully addressed
- We are currently moving our Indian users' data to servers outside of China
We talked about point #2 right in the beginning of this article, and wrote about #3 just last night. This does look convincing enough to the everyday Joe, but it is definitely possible that organizations that share highly sensitive and confidential information get cold feet after something like this. Whatever be the case, we hope for Xiaomi and their respective clients to resolve the issue once and for all.
There's still a lot to take place around this matter, and we're keeping a close eye, so expect more on this soon.