Recently, a security researcher discovered that Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus was collecting detailed information from its users, prompting widespread concerns about user privacy. Now, the company has responded to concerns, and says that it will scale back its collection efforts.
While many device makers routinely collect some information on how users are using their devices, one security researcher was alarmed at the amount that OnePlus devices were gathering up. He found that the phones collected “IMEI(s), phone numbers, MAC addresses, mobile network(s) names and IMSI prefixes,” as well as wireless network identifying numbers, his phone’s serial number, and data on what apps were being used and when.
In the forum post, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei explained that the company’s devices using OxygenOS “securely transmit analytics in two different streams, usage analytics and device information.” Pei wrote that the company collected this information to improve the phone’s operating system, and that users have the option of opting out of the user experience program that collects the data. In response to the concerns, he noted that the company will begin improving the program going forward, and added that the collected data wasn’t shared outside of the company.
Those improvements will mean that users using OxygenOS-equipped phones will be prompted to opt into the program at the end of October, and that the terms of service will be updated accordingly. Pei also says that the company will stop collecting phone numbers, MAC Addresses and WiFi information.