A few days ago, Forbes has reported that Xiaomi has been collecting user information using the Mi Browser that’s pre-installed in almost all Xiaomi phones worldwide.
As per the report, the browser collects users’ visited websites, search engine queries, and more. What’s worse, the it’s said that Xiaomi is collecting web data even when the user is in incognito mode.
The browser do encrypt user data, but apparently, it only uses an easily crackable Base64 encoding. Forbes also claims that the data is being sent in servers in Russia and Singapore.
Just a few days since the news broke, Xiaomi was quick to respond by dismissing the allegations. The company claims that user privacy and security have always been their top priority and even went on and explained what type of data collection they do and why they do it.
As per the company, the Mi Browser uses the same protocols that other top browsers are following. Xiaomi added that browsing in incognito mode is fully encrypted and anonymized.
However, Xiaomi did say that they collect two types of data, which is meant to improve the user experience.
First, there’s the Aggregated Usage Statistics Data that is being used for internal analysis, and the company assures that it doesn’t link any personally identifiable information.
The second one is the Browsing Data Synchronization, which saves your browsing data, passwords, etc. so you can easily access them when you sign in on a different device. As per Xiaomi, and as what we’re personally familiar with, these are common data-collecting in almost all web browsers. You can read Xiaomi’s full statement below.
However, it looks like the Forbes researchers are still unconvinced despite Xiaomi’s explanation. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this story develops.
In the meantime, if you’re still using Mi Browser, you can try a bunch of alternatives like the popular Google Chrome from the Android makers themselves.