March 18, 2018

OnePlus reportedly collecting lots of data on its users without telling them

11 October 2017, 01:50 | Lucia Cruz

OnePlus OxygenOS phone data tracking raises privacy concerns

OnePlus OxygenOS phone data tracking raises privacy concerns

The report comes after an investigation by Christopher Moore, a security blogger in the United Kingdom, said that his OnePlus 2 was transmitting data to OnePlus.

This data includes things like when the device's screen is turned off and on alongside timestamps, a phone's serial number, IMEI, phone number, MAC addresses, IMSI prefixes, the mobile networks it uses, a WiFi network's ESSID and BSSID, which apps are opened and how long they're used.

The increasing penetration of smartphone has its own side effects, and stealing users' personal data is one of the most crucial ones amongst all. These companies do not collect user data without the consent of the user. While the answer is not clear, a software has accused OnePlus of collecting too much user data, including details that can identify users.

Logging unexpected reboots would make sense (it could help developers fix OS bugs), but as Moore noted in his blog, recording every time the phone is unlocked or locked seemed excessive.

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OnePlus later told Android Police that it securely transmits analytics over HTTPS to an Amazon server in 2 streams. The representative didn't provide an explanation as to why OnePlus didn't simply have users opt-in for this instead of having it covertly happening in the background. "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. In a time where user information and security of sensitive information is becoming more important, a transparent and comprehensive understanding of what information is being collected and for what objective (as well as the option to completely opt out of such collection) would be greatly appreciated in any situation. "What's also worrying is that the company didn't even address the implication on users" privacy. The company also mention that users can also switch off data transmission activity by navigating to "Settings" - "Advanced" - "Join user experience program".

The code that's responsible for collecting users' private data is part of the OnePlus Device Manager and OnePlus Device Manager Provider.

Well, OnePlus has been allegedly found guilty of breaking the customers' trust. Thankfully, Twitter user Jakub Czekanski, tweeted that the data transmission can be disabled permanently using ADB tool with USB debugging enabled on the device. But, notes the company, this is to understand the problems that the users are facing and solve them in the forthcoming update. Recently some Chinese phone makers were in news after it was found that they were collecting user data.

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