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Privacy concerns hit Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi

Tech company stands accused of invasive tracking of its users' habits

A Xiaomi store in Beijing 

A Xiaomi store in Beijing  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Amid international concern about close ties between Chinese technology groups like Huawei Technologies and the communist government, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corporation is facing accusations it has been recording millions of users’ private data and browsing habits in a more invasive manner than its competitors.

According to a report by Forbes Magazine, a cybersecurity expert found that a large amount of his data and online behavior using a Redmi Note 8 smartphone were being harvested, tracked, and sent to a remote server, while connections could be made between the individual user and the data collected.

Even when the expert, Gabi Cirlig, switched his phone to the private “incognito” mode, the phone was still recording his searches and the websites he visited. The information ended up on remote servers in Singapore and Russia with Web domains registered in China, Forbes reported.

Xiaomi denied there was a privacy problem, though Cirlig found similar browser code on other devices from the company, suggesting they would have the same issues. He warned that data sent to the tech group’s servers could easily be linked to specific users, as unique numbers identifying each device were also being collected.