OnePlus admits to collecting private data without user permission

OnePlus admits to collecting private data without user permission

OnePlus admits to collecting private data without user permission

In a statement given to XDA-Developers, OnePlus downplayed the scope of the problem.

Using the company's Android-based OxygenOS, OnePlus smartphones are leaking leaking a considerable amount of users' activity data without their permission, according to a United Kingdom -based software engineer. This has largely impacted OnePlus 2 and OnePlus 3 owners, according to the researcher.

While almost all tech manufacturers and brands today collect user data in some form or another, the difference with OnePlus and its OxygenOS operating system is that data such as the phone number, mobile network names, and the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IEMI) are also collected.

OnePlus has become the latest smartphone maker to be accused of "slurping" excessive amounts of users' personal data, without seeking their consent. It's no secret that OnePlus has faced heavy criticism from its users in the past year or two over its failure to provide adequate device support. This essentially means the data is identifiable and can be traced back to a particular user.

A security researcher finds that phones running on OnePlus' OxygenOS operating system may be collecting sensitive data that ties users to their data.

Engadget ran OnePlus' response to the controversy, explaining how it collects the data.

OnePlus told Android Police, "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. The second stream is device information, which we collect to provide better after-sales support.

We also spoke with a representative from the company but did not receive a satisfactory explanation as to why the company does not simply let users opt-in and share their data to help with future updates.

The company who managed to anger and frustrate so many users precisely due to its lack of after-sales support is trying to justify its unauthorized data collection on the grounds that it's for after-sales support.
"Even if OnePlus doesn't have any mal intentions, if a malicious hacker gains access to internal assets of OnePlus, this kind of information, can be used for extremely targeted attacks on mass", said Ankush Johar, Director at HumanFirewall.io, a ITsecurity company. This transmission of usage activity can be turned off by navigating to "Settings" - "Advanced" - "Join user experience program".

That second stream, however, can't be disabled by the end user.

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