Last week, in a cautionary, the Indian Air Force (IAF) asked its personnel and their families to refrain from using Chinese ‘Xiaomi Redmi 1s’ phones, as the device is suspected to be transferring personal user data to its servers located in China and could surface as a major security risk.
Emphasising that it does not track or snoop on any personal user data without permission, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has affirmed that it will approach the Indian authorities to sort the concerns about security of user data.
Earlier this year, security solutions provider, F-Secure, in a report, displayed how a Xiaomi Redmi 1S smartphone was allegedly sending personal data, including the user’s IMEI, phone number, and phone numbers of contacts added to a phone book to a server based in China. Established on a report by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), the IAF memorandum was laid.
We are trying to get to the bottom of this. So far, we have not heard anything from the IAF or any other authorities and have only read media reports. We will reach out to authorities and engage with them to address any concerns that they might have. The company collected data only with the user’s permission to offer specific services like cloud. We don’t have a revolutionary product. Like many other messaging services, we also offer messaging, backup, cloud services to our customers. We also have the highest standards of encryption to ensure that users’ data is safe, the company has already started migrating data of its international users (non-Chinese) to data centers in the US and Singapore. The migration process, which began earlier this year, will be completed by the end of October and will benefit users in international markets, including our customers in India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan.
- Hugo Barra, Vice President at Xiaomi International
Xiaomi made a debut in the Indian market in July 2014, with its Mi3 smartphone priced at Rs. 13,999, sold exclusively on e-commerce giant Flipkart. The second device in the line was Xiaomi’s ultra budget smartphone Redmi 1S, priced at Rs. 5,999 . The company sold around half a million Redmi 1S devices and 1.2 lakh units of Mi 3 handsets through flash sales.
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