News on Data Theft by Xiaomi and Taiwan’s Reaction

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October 26, 2014 by ...

There is concern surrounding the Chinese company Xiaomi and how it uses confidential customer data. It was shown that Xiaomi phones covertly send data to mainland servers. This is done without user consent. The business reasons for doing this could very well be benign, but due to Xiaomi’s lack of transparency we will never know. Instead of being forthright about the issue, Lei Jun and crew merely told us that we need not worry, everything was under control. This did little to assuage security concerns with Xiaomi kit, however.

As a result of this, Taiwan and other countries are considering an outright ban on Xiaomi phones, or minimizing their use in certain sectors.

The following outlines Taiwanese concerns with Xiaomi phones.
‘The head of Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC), Howard Shyr, said Wednesday that tests have confirmed two models of Xiaomi smartphones still pose security risks even without a SIM card installed.

Shyr revealed the test results at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, in which the lawmakers were concerned about the Chinese smartphone brand’s suspected information leak.

Data from the phones are transmitted to several servers, many of them located in mainland China, as long as the battery has power, Shyr revealed. Sending messages using instant message apps also triggers information transmission to several servers overseas, he said.

Earlier this year, Xiami upgraded the operating system of its phones in response to fears of information leaks from users, but the issue apparently has not been completely resolved.

In response to legislators’ questions about whether authorities in Taiwan would ban officials from using Xiaomi devices, Shyr said while the officials and committee members of the NCC do not use phones suspected of information leaks, the Executive Yuan and the Ministry of Science and Technology have the final regarding a ban.

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