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Xiaomi's Redmi Note allegedly sending user data to China surreptitiously

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
At least one device from upstart Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has been found to transmit user data -- including SMS messages and photos -- back to servers in mainland China without the user's permission, according to reports from Hong Kong.

A screenshot showing outgoing data connections to a Beijing IP address.
A screenshot showing outgoing data connections to a Beijing IP address.


While testing Xiaomi's Redmi Note handset, Kenny Li of Hong Kong forum IMA Mobile discovered that the device continued to make connections with IP addresses in Beijing even after switching off the company's iCloud-like MiCloud service. The transmissions occur only over Wi-Fi, though the device does stay in contact with the servers via small "handshakes" while using cellular data.

Li says that data transmission persists even after erasing and re-flashing the handset with a different Android ROM, suggesting that the functionality could be built in to the phone's firmware.

It remains unclear whether this is the handset's intended mode of operation or if it is the result of a software glitch, as Xiaomi has yet to respond to the allegations. The company has previously said that it will store customer data in China, but only after the user opts in.

While attention has been focused on American technology companies in the wake of Edward Snowden's spying revelations, Chinese companies have also come under the microscope in recent years. Chinese telecom giants -- and Xiaomi competitors -- Huawei and ZTE were called out as "national security risks" in a 2012 report from the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, though both denied having cooperating with the Chinese government.
post #2 of 34
this is why I'll never buy a Chinese brand phone
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Apple Purchases last 12 months - iPhone 5S (two), iPhone 6, iPhone 6+ (two), iPadAir, iPadAir2, iPadMini2, AppleTV (two), MacMini, Airport Extreme, iPod Classic.
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post #3 of 34
I can tell you the Huawei has been under US suspicion since 2000, Companies which did business with the US government were told not to use Huawei networking product due to backdoor access that existed.

This is nothing new, the fingers are just now being pointed to US companies, working on behalf the federal government.
post #4 of 34
Huh. I didn't know that their forked Android version, MIUI, was still compatible with and using at least some Google services. A little surprising as I thought only Google Android used Google services. Plainly I was mistaken.
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The company has previously said that it will store customer data in China, but only after the user opts in.

 

Apparently opting in consists in using the handset.

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You did not come into the world to fail. You came into the world to succeed.

- Gordon Hinckley

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post #6 of 34

Probably Xiaomi gave backdoor access to the Chinese government in exchange for smear campaign against Apple.

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Apple Purchases last 12 months - iPhone 5S (two), iPhone 6, iPhone 6+ (two), iPadAir, iPadAir2, iPadMini2, AppleTV (two), MacMini, Airport Extreme, iPod Classic.
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post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

this is why I'll never buy a Chinese brand phone

Or a Chinese or Korean smart TV.

 

Actually it's hard to use any electronics these days without someone tracking every step you take and every tap you make.

 

I'm going to stick with my old fashioned dumb appliances, thermostats, etc.

post #8 of 34
Guess they better hand over their source code to the Russia government too.
post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post
 

Actually it's hard to use any electronics these days without someone tracking every step you take and every tap you make.

This is correct. Did you know, for instance, that every digital copier --made largely in Asia, by Asian companies -- contains a hard drive that stores the cover page of every copy that is made!? See, for example, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/digital-photocopiers-loaded-with-secrets/

post #10 of 34
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
Chinese telecom giants -- and Xiaomi competitors -- Huawei and ZTE were called out as "national security risks" in a 2012 report ...

 

Europeans: totally paranoid of any and all government and corporate spying.

 

Americans: outraged by government spying, somewhat annoyed by Google and other corporate spying.

 

Chinese: completely accustomed to constant government spying and corporate spying.

 

So what does that tell you about Chinese phones and Chinese Android hacks?

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post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

this is why I'll never buy a Chinese brand phone

or car, or any product! Today, I'm proudly saying that I'm Chinese made product free...yup. Nothing in my house is made in China...maybe "Assembled" in China still sticks with me for awhile...lol.

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I Want My iOS UI Like in Apple Watch"
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post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

Probably Xiaomi gave backdoor access to the Chinese government in exchange for smear campaign against Apple.
Somehow I doubt this story about Xiaomi will be topping headlines in China like all the Apple hit pieces. I wonder why...

Save your friends from Skynet - whoops, Google.  Recommend they use StartPage for search..

...and no, I am not paid to say this..

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Save your friends from Skynet - whoops, Google.  Recommend they use StartPage for search..

...and no, I am not paid to say this..

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post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

Europeans: totally paranoid of any and all government and corporate spying.

Americans: outraged by government spying, somewhat annoyed by Google and other corporate spying.

Chinese: completely accustomed to constant government spying and corporate spying.

So what does that tell you about Chinese phones and Chinese Android hacks?

I don't don't know if the Chinese citizens are accustomed to it as the govt controls the media.

Still, this is probably the only original idea for them.
post #14 of 34
China, US, EU. What amazes me is that people are surprised that governments are spying on them.
post #15 of 34
Never, never, NEVER...install or use Chinese software.

That includes software from torrent sites, not to mention jailbreaking tools.
Pot is legal in North Korea.
That explains a considerable amount.

"The United States will respond proportionally at a place and time we choose..."
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Pot is legal in North Korea.
That explains a considerable amount.

"The United States will respond proportionally at a place and time we choose..."
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post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post

Guess they better hand over their source code to the Russia government too.

LOL In Russia, the spies worry about privacy issues.

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by lukei View Post

China, US, EU. What amazes me is that people are surprised that governments are spying on them.

I think a much more interesting question is why are governments spying?

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post #18 of 34
Because they want control. As governments always do. Whether democratic or dictatorship it's all about controlling the masses
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post

or car, or any product! Today, I'm proudly saying that I'm Chinese made product free...yup. Nothing in my house is made in China...maybe "Assembled" in China still sticks with me for awhile...lol.

There is a big difference between on Chinese Brand vs Made in China (Assembled)
Edited by Mejsric - 7/30/14 at 4:19pm
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by lukei View Post

...it's all about controlling the masses

Governments already have control. Controlling the masses is what they were elected to do. They pass and enforce laws. Control does not explain spying. Why would the US spy on both friendly and adversarial countries? It can't be for control of the masses because they are citizens of a different country. Your explanation uses way too much tin foil.

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post #21 of 34

Android: free and open.  Android vendors are "free" to exploit your now "open" personal information.  What's not to love?  THANKS GOOGLE!

FEAR GOOGLE
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FEAR GOOGLE
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post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mejsric View Post


There is a big difference between on Chinese Brand vs Made in China (Assembled)
 

I would say small difference for Chinese brand vs Made in China. Chinese brands are designed by Chinese companies while Made in China brand are foreign companies's design, but built by Chinese companies and had QC checked following foreign companies' standards (sh..t everything can be bribed in China...so what's different?).

Made in China is not equal Assembled in China. Made in China means parts (not all) are also made by Chinese companies while Assembled in China means parts imported from others.

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I Want My iOS UI Like in Apple Watch"
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post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post
 

Made in China is not equal Assembled in China. Made in China means parts (not all) are also made by Chinese companies while Assembled in China means parts imported from others.

 

Are you sure? I seem to recall customs documents saying all they care about is where the majority of the assembly occurs. Those documents were to explain why you can't build a light fixture in India, slap a shade on it in Vancouver and call it "Made in Canada" so maybe it's not relevant.

 

I've always had the impression that "Assembled in..." is MarketingSpeak with no actual legal definition, that companies like Apple use the phrase in an attempt to sway perception of the product as being better because the design work was done somewhere else. (Why a product designed in California would automatically be better than one designed in, I dunno, Taiwan, strikes me as hitting a jingoistic drum, but that's not really the point.)

 

Anyway, are you sure there's an actual, defined distinction between "Made in..." and "Assembled in...?"

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Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

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post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post

Guess they better hand over their source code to the Russia government too.

 

I was just thinking that.

post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Governments already have control. Controlling the masses is what they were elected to do. They pass and enforce laws. Control does not explain spying. Why would the US spy on both friendly and adversarial countries? It can't be for control of the masses because they are citizens of a different country. Your explanation uses way too much tin foil.

Governments do not have control by merely implementing and (partially) enforcing laws.

They spy on their own citizens to find out what is happening beneath the surface. Whether that is to understand threats to national security or otherwise. Foreign powers are spied on for numerous reasons. Again threats to security or to find out information which could be useful to trade or a whole raft of other reasons.

To dismiss my comments as tin foil shows you haven't actually looked at what information was being gleaned by spying.

Google 'US spies on Germany' to kick off.
post #26 of 34
obviously it's a glitch. how else would code be present that still executed after the phone had a new operating system installed, that would send things like sms messages to companies server? Everybody puts code like that at the very lowest level of their baseband firmware, if not actually coded on the radio hardware chips directly.
post #27 of 34
Originally Posted by lukei View Post
What amazes me is that people are surprised that governments are spying on them.

 

It’s not like we have laws to prevent that from happening or anything.

 

Oh, wait.

 

Originally Posted by lukei View Post
They spy on their own citizens to find out what is happening beneath the surface.

 

Which isn’t allowed.

 
...shows you haven’t actually looked at what information was being gleaned by spying.

 

All studies into this matter show that no relevant information was gleaned. What’s your point?

post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

It’s not like we have laws to prevent that from happening or anything.

 

Oh, wait.

 

 

Which isn’t allowed.

 

All studies into this matter show that no relevant information was gleaned. What’s your point?

It's always best when commenting to look at the question being answered first. Look at what I was responding to.

 

Just for your reference having a law against something does not prevent people doing it, otherwise courtrooms around the world would be very quiet places and we could fire all of our police. 


Edited by lukei - 7/31/14 at 12:39am
post #29 of 34
Originally Posted by lukei View Post
Just for your reference having a law against something does not prevent people doing it...

 

At least you acknowledge the point of the discussion, even if you don’t comprehend it.

post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

At least you acknowledge the point of the discussion, even if you don’t comprehend it.

I often wonder if you just have to have the last word.

 

I comprehend the point of the discussion perfectly. Your stated belief that having laws in place stops things happening is however beyond logical comprehension.

post #31 of 34

Why people worry about info sending to servers somewhere?  I never use any real info on my phone.  They can get whatever they want.  Everything is made up.  Even the location is fake by using an app faking the location info.  Stop using your real info on the phone.  You're trusting your phone more than yourself?

post #32 of 34
Originally Posted by lukei View Post
I comprehend the point of the discussion perfectly.

 

Were this true, your last post wouldn’t have been made.

 
 Your stated belief...

 

Thank you for confirming exactly what I just said: you didn’t read.

 

Originally Posted by ipen View Post
I never use any real info on my phone.  They can get whatever they want.  Everything is made up.  Even the location is fake by using an app faking the location info.  Stop using your real info on the phone.  You're trusting your phone more than yourself?

 

You’re insane. “Stop using your phone as a phone, or as a device for any purpose” is not an answer. Allowing this to happen is not an answer.

post #33 of 34
I would suggest reading some John le Carré, particularly the Smiley books for an insider's viewpoint. He explains the many reasons for spying and why governments do it. They can't afford Not to. If your friends and enemies know more about what 'your' people think and do - than you do, then you're in big trouble.
With that out of the way, the pervasiveness and extent are mere questions of deniability. Public concerns are only 'of concern' when that deniability is threatened.
He pretty much covers it all.
post #34 of 34

What the hell do people expect from a Chinese company, or China in general?

 

You have to be on drugs to buy any device loading up with Chinese software.

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