If you are a diehard Android fan, chances are good that you heard about the famous Chinese smart phone manufacturer Xiaomi. Just recently, news broke-out that the Chinese smart phone manufacturer has been stealing users’ information. It has been determined Xiaomi smart phones were configured to upload users personal information to their servers.
This incident truly reveals how naïve we are when it comes to smart phones and their negative implications. In a nutshell, it may be your smart phone, but you have no control over it – it’s a scary thought. Sooner or later smart phones need to be connected to the internet, and when that happens, you’re smart phone may be communicating with at least three parties. The first party is your smart phone manufacturer, the second party is your cellular service provider and the last ones are the third-party application developers. In the case of Xiaomi, their smart phones were configured to transmit personal data as soon as the phone is turned on.
Consequently Xiaomi’s activities were discovered, but considerable damage has already been suffered by users. A formal press-release by Xiaomi explained that they needed the data from users contact lists for their SMS messaging service. Despite their explanation, users were not informed prior to purchasing Xiaomi handsets and this caused a lot of mistrust and frustration amongst Xiaomi fans.
However, Xiaomi is just another drop in the bucket full of fraud and deceptive companies. In fact, your cellular service provider is most likely collecting your data as you read this article. That is because; it is standard practice for your service provider to collect your personal information as soon as you purchase your phone. As it turns out, the manufacturer wants to assists you in setting up your phone as efficiently as possible.
Today, organizations are data hungry. Data is needed to measure demographic trends and develop marketing tactics. Sadly, what’s most concerning is the fact that users never get to find out what pieces of personal information are being collected from their smart phones. Then, there is the uncertainly from third-party applications. It has been found that there are countless applications on the play store which record personal information and transmit it to their respective servers.
According to a study conducted by a Romanian information security company bit defender, many third-party apps record information that is often unrelated to the application’s purpose. Analyzing this question, the only thing that comes to mind is data theft. One such high profile case involved a simple torch application. The application was suppose to simply turn on your phone’s led light, giving it the ability to function as a flash light. It was later discovered that the app had also been collecting personal information in the background. For those who are really concerned about user privacy. It is recommended that they install a VPN on their smart phones which prevents third-party application from collecting your information. In addition, users should lock files and folders which contain sensitive information on their Android smart phones.
The simple fact to remember is that if you use a smart phone, be prepared to share your data. You can however, limit or perhaps stop your personal data from leaking by using various privacy applications available on the play store.