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OnePlus caught red handed mining user personal data without consent
11 October 2017, 01:51 | Justin Tyler
OnePlus has been collecting very specific usage data
Earlier, there have been reports on OnePlus manipulating benchmarks and incorrect mounting displays but this time around, Moore while participating in the SANS Holiday Hack Challenge made a decision to check the internet traffic from his phone OnePlus2 2.
Moore has detailed his findings on his website and he explains that he notice OnePlus was collecting information about when his screen was turned on and off, when his phone was unlocked, his serial number, details of mobile networks, phone numbers, MAC addresses and even which apps we was running, when and for how long.
That a phone collects certain information about usage is not particularly unusual - it helps to identify problems and speed up software development. Undoubtedly, having access to such vital piece of information a company can know a lot about the personal preferences of a smartphone user.
On his blog, Chris Moore reveals that the Chinese electronics company has been collecting some very specific data from OnePlus users without their permission. Moore writes: "Unfortunately, as a system service, there doesn't appear to be any way of permanently disabling this data collection or removing this functionality without rooting the phone". "The first stream is usage analytics, which we collect in order for us to more precisely fine-tune our software according to user behaviour", the firm said. This probably prompted the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to recently issue a directive details of what all data that phone companies were collecting from users. However, it is unethical to fetch user information without permission.
Meanwhile, OnePlus has given a statement to Android Police, where it has said that a majority of the data collection can be avoided by following this path: "Settings-Advanced-Join user experience program".
To his surprise, the device was making traffic requests to open.oneplus.net, which Moore discovered directed traffic to a US-based Amazon AWS server. According to some reports, OnePlus has been harvesting unanonymised data analytics from its buyers. Though OnePlus claims its doing this to provide better after-sales support, most users might not be happy about being kept out of the loop all this while. Besides this, the company is in the headlines for privacy concerns as well. Well, it looks like OnePlus has been found guilty of breaking consumers trust. However, Jakub Czekański has provided a suggestion on how to disable them permanently.
Czekanski's method does not require rebooting as OnePlus Device Manager (app responsible for sending data) can be removed via ADB tool and USB debugging enabled.
Some OnePlus phones appear to be mining user data - but is it as bad as it sounds?
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