OnePlus phones collecting private data without permissions

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OnePlus

Data collection by device OEM’s is not uncommon, but most OEM’s ask permission before flipping the switch on.

When OnePlus first hit the scene there was both hope and doubt that they would make it against bigger OEMs. I managed to get my hands on the first generation of their device and I walked away impressed. Since the first generation, OnePlus has followed up with better hardware year over year. While they’re not selling devices on the scale of Samsung, they have become successful in their niche market. From their relationship with Cyanogen to delays in production, the company has seen its share of controversy.

Now a new controversy is coming to light, the company seems to be collecting private data without explicitly requesting it. Security researcher Chris Moore says the data being collected is tied to individual devices and user accounts. As Engadget points out, the data being collected isn’t unlike what other devices ask for, Wi-Fi usage, apps used, unlock frequency. The difference here is OnePlus is not anonymizing the data. Instead, the transferred data includes your phone’s serial number making it known who you are.

As part of its response to the controversy, the company revealed it collects two “streams” of data (you can read its statement in full below). The first is termed “usage analytics,” which helps it to improve its software. It also adds that this type of data-sharing can be turned off by going into settings, selecting “advanced,” and turning off “join user experience program.” The same doesn’t apply to the second stream, pertaining to device info. ~Engadget

“We securely transmit analytics in two different streams over HTTPS to an Amazon server. The first stream is usage analytics, which we collect in order for us to more precisely fine tune our software according to user behavior. This transmission of usage activity can be turned off by navigating to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Advanced’ -> ‘Join user experience program’. The second stream is device information, which we collect to provide better after-sales support.” ~OnePlus

Data collection by device OEM’s is not uncommon, but most OEM’s ask permission before flipping the switch on. There may be many users out there unaware that their data is being collected because the switch defaults to the on position.

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  Source: Engadget
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