Popular budget smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi confessed to collecting browsing data in response to an independent investigation by cybersecurity researcher, Cirlig. Cirlig claims that Xiaomi records all search queries and items viewed on its browsers, even on Incognito Mode. Xiaomi confessed to its browsing data collection, but claimed that the data set is separated from the users responsible, and denied collecting information in incognito mode.
This led to Cirlig managing to prove that data is being collected in incognito mode, to which Xiaomi said, “Collection of anonymous browsing data, is one of the most common solutions adopted by internet companies.” Cirlig also claims that the anonymizing system is just a cover, because the users can easily be identified when browsing data is compiled with individual metadata.
Cirlig also noted that default Xiaomi apps on his phone (such as music) and also collect data and keep a record of his screen touch history, and connected this data to a system which enables third parties to gain access. In this case, Cirlig lays the blame on Sensor Analytics, a startup company that has a reputation for user tracking.
Xiaomi admitted to all of this, but continued to insist information is kept private and anonymous. We request readers to stay vigilant and responsible with their private data, and carefully choose how many permissions and liberties they allow their phones to take.