Sunday, October 26, 2014

Xiaomi says data migration out of China not a result of IAF alert

Few days back, the Indian Air Force (IAF) had suggested its air force officers and their families to refrain from using Xiaomi mobile devices for security purposes. Hugo Barra, vice president of Xiaomi, in a blog post assured Indian users that their data was not being stolen and that user-data was being migrated to servers outside China. The timing of Hugo’s blog post and the data migration caused many to wonder if this move was being carried out as a result of the IAF warning. But today Xiaomi has issued a clarification, denying the same.
Speaking to Indian Express, Manu Jain, head of Xiaomi’s India operation said that the process for data/server migration started in early 2014. Jain said that part of this migration would be completed by the end of the year and the reason behind it was to improve the performance of Xiaomi services.
Earlier this week, an Indian Air Force (IAF) alert note disclosed, “F-secure, a leading security solution company, recently carried out a test of Xiaomi Redmi 1s, the company’s budget smartphone, and found that the phone was forwarding carrier name, phone number, IMEI (the device identifier) plus numbers from address book and text messages back to Beijing.” Jain claimed that he did not have full information about the circular issued by IAF and it is believed to be based on the test conducted by F-Secure.
“We believe the advisory circular issued by IAF is based on events about 2 months back.  It refers to the F-Secure test done on the Redmi 1S in July 2014 about the activation of our Cloud Messaging service (which enables users to send text messages for free). We immediately addressed the concerns raised, which was directly acknowledged by F-Secure four days later,” Barra explained in hig blog post where he elaborated on the process of data migration.
Jain went on to tell the paper, that Xiaomi never uploads data without user consent and the storage of data on Mi Cloud fully respects the local laws of each country and region. According to Jain, Xiaomi uses strict encryption algorithms to protect user privacy.
Last month, the Taiwanese government had also started investigating whether Xiaomi is a cyber security threat and said it will make a decision within three months. The government had begun performing independent tests on Xiaomi phones after reports about some models automatically sending user data back to the firm’s servers in mainland China surfaced.

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