According to a recent article that emerged from Forbes, claiming Xiaomi was recording a worrying amount of information from its native smartphone browser application – Mi Browser. The report states that the amount of user data collected ranges from usage analytics to personally identifiable info. That news broke the web with a lot of complaints stating that the company was violating user’s privacy. Now, the Chinese manufacturer published a statement denying the claims outright.
Forbes post states that Xiaomi’s Mi Browser collects data such as the websites the user visited, search engine queries and items viewed in the browser’s news feed. To make matter worse, the report claimed that the company also records these sensible data even when users were using the browser in the incognito mode. Incognito mode is there to “promote” a safe untraceable browsing mode, however, apparently, it wasn’t the case with Mi Browser.
While the browser encrypts the user data, it uses Base64 encoding which is easily crackable. The report went further to state that the information was being sent to remote servers in Singapore and Russia. Forbes also states that the other Xiaomi-developed browsers – Mi Browser Pro and Mint Browser, also had the very same “data collecting powers”.
Xiaomi Denies Recording Data And States That STATES THAT THE User’s Privacy Is Its Top Priority
After the buzz, the company responded to these claims denying all the information published by Forbes. The company states that it always had user’s privacy and internet security as one of its top priorities. The company explained its data collection practices in a bid to ensure that it’s not what it looks. Moreover, the company states that users should not believe in “incorrect news” that comes to disgrace its reputation.
🚨️ INCORRECT NEWS ALERT
A news report claiming “Mi Browser collects unnecessary user information” is floating on social media.
This is absolutely inaccurate! Please read, understand & spread the word.
— Manu Kumar Jain (@manukumarjain) May 2, 2020
As per the company’s post, Xiaomi collects two types of data: Aggregated usage statistics data and user browsing data syncs. The latter includes info like browsing data history that sync when user signs in and when data sync function is turned on. The former includes system info, preferences, user interface feature usage, responsiveness and etc. According to the company, a lot of mainstream browsers are doing the same.
Furthermore, the company states that it’s not collecting browser information or history while it is on the Incognito mode. To make things more believable, the company shared its browser software code as proof. Despite the company’s response, the researchers at Forbes are still unconvinced. To them, the company is still collecting data about the phone, including unique numbers for identifying the specific device and Android version.
Well for now, let us wait and see where this case is going. If you’re feeling unsafe with Mi Browser, please download and install other browsers via Google Play Store. It’s curious to see such reports coming a few days after the reveal of MIUI 12. With the new software, the company promises a new level of security with a bunch of new features and even a new Privacy-focused brand.