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Chinese phone sparks privacy worries

Update: July, 25/2014 - 08:49

Chinese-made smartphone XiaoMi Redmi Note. It is allegedly secretly sending personal data of users to a server hosted in Beijing. — Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — Chinese-made smartphone XiaoMi Redmi Note, is allegedly secretly sending personal data of users to a server hosted in Beijing without permission from phone users, a Vietnamese technology newspaper reported.

According to, an online newspaper run by the Ministry of Information and Communications of Viet Nam, CellphoneS, one of the biggest phone retailers in the country, has observed the alleged data theft.

According to CellphoneS, when the XiaoMi Redmi Note is in Wi-Fi mode, it connects to a server with an IP address based in mainland China without notifying its user.

After connecting to the Chinese server, the phone uploads photos, chat messages and information from the user.

On the other hand, even after removing the default software installed by Xiaomi, the Redmi Note continues the automatic connection and file upload.

This observation from CellphoneS has raised serious concerns regarding personal information being stolen and misused.

Mobile phone retailers in Ha Noi said XiaoMi Redmi Note was already out of stock. They expected new shipments in the next few weeks.

The phone, which is being sold in Viet Nam at a price of VND4.7 million (US$224), is part of a line of smartphones launched by Xiaomi Inc, the largest privately owned mainland Chinese electronics company.

Meanwhile, according to The China Post, during the recent public announcement for Xiaomi new smartphone Xiaomi 4, the company responded to the recent discussions of the Redmi Note's automatic upload and connect function to a Chinese server.

The company, however, cited its user agreement policy, which stated that no invasion of privacy had ever occurred in their service and the infringement allegation was false and untrue.

Xiaomi did not, however, dismiss the automatic connection and upload feature and said that Redmi Note does not upload personal information from its users but only calculates the user's personal preferences, so that the company can send appropriate upgrade and app recommendations to their users for better customer service.

The company also said that all phones come with automatic back-up and cloud features disabled, and they can only perform these functions with the user's consent.

Backed-up information will also not be used by the company or against the user, the company said.

Headquartered in Beijing, Xiaomi itself designs, develops and sells smartphones, mobile apps and consumer electronics. — VNS

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