Recently, our blog based on security researcher Christopher Moore’s post revealed that the popular smartphone manufacturer OnePlus has been collecting private data from their users without permission.
The article discussed that they were collecting the Device Serial Number, IMEI number, phone number, MAC address, Wi-Fi SSIDs and even time-stamped details of when the user lock/unlock the device, open/close apps, reboots, etc. The real threat to privacy was that all the data collected were tied to individual devices using serial numbers and user accounts, making it personally identifiable. That means there was no anonymity in the whole process of data collection.
OnePlus Team responded to the issue fairly quickly stating the way they collect data and how they use it effectively to identify bugs and provide better user support. But in the statement, they failed to address the privacy concerns of their customers.
Well, now we have a better response from the company. Carl Pei, CEO of OnePlus posted about this issue on its forums, where he accepted the fact that they were collecting user analytics and device information and explained it as a standard industry practice. He further emphasized that the data hasn’t been and would not be shared with outside parties at any point, but was used for improving product and service offerings.
He also explained a method which works in the current situation to opt out of User Experience Program, preventing the data analytics being tied to your device information. If you are a OnePlus user, you can do so by navigating to ‘Settings‘ -> ‘Advanced‘ -> ‘Join user experience program‘.
He added, “By the end of October, all OnePlus phones running OxygenOS will have a prompt in the setup wizard that asks users if they want to join our user experience program. The setup wizard will clearly indicate that the program collects usage analytics. In addition, we will include a terms of service agreement that further explains our analytics collection”.
Carl Pei also promised that they will no longer collect telephone numbers, MAC addresses and Wi-Fi information from the users.
Well, I appreciate the fact that OnePlus has accepted and addressed the issue but going through some of the comments to Carl’s original post, users still seem worried about the data they have been collecting i.e, the data that they have on their servers now. The sister company of Oppo may or may not come up with a solution for this. Stay tuned to Mr.Phone for more info.
By the time, leave your thoughts in the comments down below. If you are a OnePlus user, are you happy with the solution they provided? Let us know.