The purchase of Chinese smart phones has become a common issue among users, as it is the most economical solution that comes without sacrifices in hardware, but how do these companies deal with the data of their users, and which companies should they avoid?
There are a lot of phone companies in the world, and there are Chinese companies. The phone market in general is dominated by a few hands, and if you mention mobile phones and their companies, you might see the logo of Apple, Samsung, or one of the Chinese giants coming at the speed of the rocket and the splendor of the waves sweeping over the rocks of the beaches.
The danger of the giant company BBK (and the word giant is not enough) is staring at the horizon, and day after day we see it threaten the throne of the prestigious companies we are accustomed to. For those who do not know, BBK is the parent company of many famous Chinese brands such as Oppo, Realme, Vivo and OnePlus. All of these names are owned by BBK, which in 2017 became the second largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world after Samsung.
All of these names shined in the local and global markets, especially Realme and Vivo, not to mention the giant Xiaomi. And if we want to talk about buying Chinese smartphones and their market in a comprehensive way, we will see that it swept green and white from 2012 to the present day.
In 2021, the Chinese market was able to sell about 330 million smartphones around the world, taking over 25% of the mobile phone market on the planet. In December of the same year, in China alone, the number of Chinese phones in use reached 1.64 billion.
Three giant companies control phone services in China: “China Mobile”, “China Unicom” and China Telecom. With all these numbers and the spread of Chinese phones in the global and local markets due to their low price and quality, we have some reports that Chinese smartphones, as well as applications, are spying on users. This is what we are here for today; We are here to review those claims and see if they are true or not, and accordingly you can make a final decision on the use of Chinese phones, let’s begin!
Xiaomi knows everything big and small about its users!
Xiaomi ranks as the fourth largest smartphone manufacturer in the world; Its phones come with great specifications and features that you rarely find in other phones in the same price category. Phones are characterized by strength, durability, and quality cameras. A wonderful combination and consistent employment of price and features at the same time, and this is what made the company famous inside and outside China.
The problem is that you do not get all these advantages when buying Chinese smartphones without suspecting something. Here we are talking about a mobile phone made in China, which despite the bad reputation for the quality of the products of that country, you will get great specifications, a beautiful design (from the point of view of many), and a comfortable price, but you will give them more for that price.. See the topic From another angle!
In the age of paranoia, I think we worry about our privacy more than anything else. We are afraid that someone will spy on us or know what does not concern us. Here we are talking about one person, not the edifice of a company called Xiaomi. Xiaomi phones know about you everything you need to hide from a serial killer: your habits, your secure data, your location, the things you search on Google, it knows just about everything and then you send it back to the company’s headquarters in China.
According to Gabi Sirlig, a cybersecurity expert and former Xiaomi user, Xiaomi phones are “backdoors for other purposes”. This is what our owner said to Forbes magazine after he discovered that his personal information and various data from his Redmi Note 8 had been leaked and sold to the famous Chinese company “Ali Baba”.
Seerlig found that “a large proportion of his online behavior is being tracked”, as well as collecting different types of device data, leaving Seerlig terrified that his identity and private life would be exposed to the Chinese company.
This data collected by Xiaomi includes the websites visited, including information about the search engine that was used (Google or DuckDuckGo), as well as every item opened via the News Feed feature in the Xiaomi browser, even while Use the hidden mode.
And it doesn’t stop here, even the folders you open, the screens you browse including the notification window and settings, all those minute details are recorded and sent to servers in Singapore and Russia!
And it’s not just for company users
Xiaomi offers a number of its browsers such as ( Mint Browser and mi browser pro ) to all Android users via the Google Play Store, which the security expert confirmed that they collect the same data, and with more than 15 million downloads, can you imagine the amount of data owned by the leading Chinese company?
Xiaomi responded to these allegations
Xiaomi denied Searlig’s allegations, saying that they were incorrect and that user data was encrypted before being sent here or there. The company also defended itself and said that the purpose of that data was to better understand users’ behavior. Gabi Serlig responded to the company and confirmed that the encryption processes you were talking about are very primitive Base64, which he was able to crack in a few seconds and see what that data contained.
The cybersecurity expert added that the nature of the data collected by the company, such as unique numbers to identify the type and version of the phone, could be misused and easily identify the owner of the phone.
What is suspicious is that the company mentioned that consumers agree to the terms and conditions before using their phones, and my friend has definitely passed those terms before, whether you buy Chinese smartphones or not, almost all phones and applications initially ask you to agree to those terms if you You want to use their product, and you often hit ‘ok’ without reading that wordplay that you won’t understand all of it explicitly.
It’s easy to insert a condition here or there that means the company is getting data that you don’t want them to have, and it’s easier to hit ‘ok’ for one of three reasons, or for all three reasons: we’re lazy, or we delude ourselves that we don’t have important data to justify That’s by saying, “Does Elon Musk see me because I’m afraid my data will be leaked?”, or because we just want to use the phone as quickly as possible.
You may be wondering: Isn’t it legal to view the data as long as the user agrees to the terms regardless of whether they have read it or not? Perhaps, but here the moral aspect must be mentioned; Every company must be ethical to keep users’ information strictly confidential and not to disclose it to companies whose goal is to sell as many products as possible.
After Searlig stirred up public opinion, Xiaomi did something that didn’t involve children. The company wrote a long post explaining that it has changed the way it collects data and that users now have the right to opt out and not consent to the browser sending their data to be analyzed. So what do you think?
Question marks about the Chinese company Huawei
Many skeptics attribute US discontent with Huawei to political reasons, or to restricting international trade in order to encourage industry and the use of domestic alternatives. But in the past few years, intelligence and technology agencies in various Western countries have been expressing concerns about Huawei devices and users’ security.
In early 2018, the head of US intelligence agencies issued major warnings in the US Senate against using any Chinese devices provided by Huawei and ZTE.
There are countries that are gradually reducing the use of Huawei devices, such as Sweden and the United Kingdom, which have banned 5G networks from the company’s devices, and by 2027, the two countries aim to ban Huawei devices completely.
Many experts in both Lithuania and Estonia have lodged their protests over the Chinese company’s devices, and they have submitted a request to the local government and the country’s president to ban Huawei devices to bring them into line with European standards.
- The Washington Post has published more than 100 classified documents in the form of PowerPoint presentations suggesting that Huawei may be involved in China’s “mass surveillance” programs.
- Huawei CEO and founder, Ren Zheng, joined the Communist Party in 1978 and was a high-ranking member of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Corps of Engineers.
- In 2014, a Huawei engineer was caught trying to hack a mobile phone tower in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, endangering the government’s BSNL network.
- A report from the FBI spread in 2015 indicating that Huawei received government support estimated at about $100 billion. What is the return of the Chinese government from this huge funding from your point of view?
As for BBK, there are no accusations against these Chinese companies so far
Unlike Xiaomi, it is assumed that all Chinese smartphones bearing the names of those registered trademarks “OPPO, Vivo, OnePlus” have their own security system that guarantees the user to encrypt all his data. This is the announced order, and nothing has been proven against them or a direct accusation against them, such as Xiaomi so far.
If you buy Chinese smartphones, how can you act?
You can switch all system applications with external ones, and follow the steps mentioned in our article on safe applications that reviews privacy protection applications, but this will not prevent intrusion on the ways you use your smartphone as we saw in Xiaomi, where it is most likely done by files installed in the system, but you can on Least preserve your data on the Internet.
You can also install modified and raw Android systems “ROMs” to escape from the systems of Chinese companies and get other raw systems that do not contain any files to spy on you and steal your data.
In the end, almost all companies use your information and exploit your privacy in one way or another, but there are those who rudely transgress and exploit you without your knowledge, and there are those who tell you to employ them in a certain direction, but when buying Chinese smartphones, perhaps you should avoid some of them.