Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
IT | By Lester Massey

OnePlus reportedly collects personal information from smartphone users

OnePlus reportedly collects personal information from smartphone users

The company's OxygenOS is under the scanner for tracking personally identifiable information like IMEI number, MAC addresses, mobile network names, Wi-Fi SSIDs, and the phone's serial number.

Moore has described the data collection in his blog post; the data was being transferred to an Amazon AWS instance from his OnePlus 2 device.

For what it's worth, you can turn off the "transmission of usage activity" by unjoining the "user experience program" in your advanced settings menu. In a time where user information and security of sensitive information is becoming more important, a transparent and comprehensive understanding of what information is being collected and for what goal (as well as the option to completely opt out of such collection) would be greatly appreciated in any situation. On investigating further, Moore found that his OnePlus 2 was also sending some other information on locks and unlocks, reboot, screen timestamps, and charging. Not to mention users aren't properly informed of everything the OEM has access to both during and after using devices like the OnePlus 2.

Moore has also noticed that OnePlus has also been collecting details like the apps a user opens and when the user launched or closed an app.

The company says, "We securely transmit analytics in two different streams over HTTPS to an Amazon server".

At the heart of the issue is the telemetry data OnePlus is collecting, the expansiveness of which some people feel is too great, plus the fact that certain bits of data could theoretically make it possible for the company to connect the particular user with the particular data collected. Though OnePlus claims its doing this to provide better after-sales support, most users might not be happy about being kept out of the loop all this while. Besides this, the company is in the headlines for privacy concerns as well.

Perhaps most concerning is Moore's discovery that none of this data was anonymized: it was all sent back to OnePlus complete with his phone's serial number.

Christopher soon realised that Oneplus support team may not be authorised to suggest a legitimate solution even if they want to.

While it is true that most big mobile companies are known to collect data from our phones, most of it is with our consent.

Interestingly, Twitter user Jakub Czekanski seems to have found a fix to permanently disable the data transmission. Today, the security of user data is becoming important than ever. But, notes the company, this is to understand the problems that the users are facing and solve them in the forthcoming update.

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