September 29, 2014 by ...
Xiaomi got caught with its proverbial hand in the cookie jar. The company was siphoning off user data and sending it to China without permission. What is remarkable about this is not the data theft, as is explained below, but Xiaomi’s response.
Due to the nature of smart phones, they are walking data centers. Anyone with access to one’s handheld, potentially owns that information. This fact is why trust should be a major concern for people when buying smart phones.
Xiaomi’s reticence to be forthright with their intrusion is probably due to their youth more than anything else. The company is a relative newcomer and still figuring out how to handle PR nightmares. Lets hope they up their game in the future.
About data theft and cell phones in General
Excerpt- ‘When popular Chinese handset maker Xiaomi Inc admitted that its devices were sending users’ personal information back to a server in China, it prompted howls of protest and an investigation by Taiwan’s government.
The affair has also drawn attention to just how little we know about what happens between our smartphone and the outside world. In short: it might be in your pocket, but you don’t call the shots.
As long as a device is switched on, it could be communicating with at least three different masters: the company that built it, the telephone company it connects to, and the developers of any third party applications you installed on the device – or were pre-installed before you bought it.
All these companies could have programmed the device to send data ‘back home’ to them over a wireless or cellular network – with or without the user’s knowledge or consent. In Xiaomi’s case, as soon as a user booted up their device it started sending personal data ‘back home’.
This, Xiaomi said, was to allow users to send SMS messages without having to pay operator charges by routing the messages through Xiaomi’s servers. To do that, the company said, it needed to know the contents of users’ address books.’