OnePlus is quietly collecting a ton of data from its smartphones
12 October, 2017, 00:57 | Author: Pamela Mathis
Software engineer Christopher Moore has found out that the company has programmed its phones to send out personally identifiable analytics data to its servers. The blog claims that OnePlus was also collecting details on when a user locked his device, when he unlocked it as well as the timings related to when a particular app was being used. He found that his OnePlus 2 was constantly reaching out to open.oneplus.net, which in turn diverted traffic to an Amazon server in the US.
OnePlus says it is collecting data for analysis and find bugs in its devices, if any, for future corrections. Using this tool and the encryption key stored on the OnePlus 2 he managed to decipher the exact information that was being sent. These amount to a huge volume of data and the reason given by OnePlus for this practice is to collect the data and through analysis find out any bugs in its devices for future corrections. It's terrifying when we factor in that all this data can be traced back to the phone's IMEI number and the MAC addresses. Apparently, its makers have been sucking up personal information and other device-related data without the user knowing. These data were all time-stamped and contained his phone's serial number.
On his blog, Moore wrote: "I took to Twitter to ask OnePlus on Twitter how this could be turned off, which disappointingly led down the usual path of "troubleshooting" suggestions, before being met with radio silence".
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Android Authority was able to speak to a OnePlus representative about this issue, but received an unsatisfactory response. "What's also worrying is that the company didn't even address the implication on users" privacy. OnePlus stated that a user could deactivate the transfer by tapping Settings - Advanced - Join user experience program. "The second stream is device information, which we collect to provide better after-sales support", OnePlus told Android Police. There's no simple way for a user to know the extent of the data tracking happening, nor to disable it. However, the "feature" can be disabled permanently via adb, according to a Twitter user Jakub Czekański. Actually, you can disable it permanently: "pm uninstall -k -user 0 pkg". The data can help developers figure out what features people use, what bugs need to be fixed, and what/where the target market is.
However, when this issue was reported to OnePlus, the company confirmed that they transmit analytics data in two different streams over HTTPS to an Amazon server.
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