Are you ready to sell your privacy for an inexpensive smartphone

Privacy has now become something of an obsession in modern society. At the time when it became simply impossible, everyone began to talk about the fact that she was really needed. At the same time, many of them simply reveal themselves from all sides, thinking that they are not doing anything special. But apart from ourselves, sometimes smartphone manufacturers also encroach on our privacy. And okay, if we give them such permission, but often we are against and talk about it separately, but they still continue to collect any information about us and use it for their own purposes. Is it possible to put up with this if the smartphone is not expensive? Or is that not an excuse?

Are you ready to sell your privacy for an inexpensive smartphone

Buy an inexpensive smartphone and share data with the manufacturer, or buy more expensive and be protected? Everyone decides for himself.

Even if you have never owned one of the phones Xiaomi, this is probably the brand you will remember when you hear the phrase “profitable smartphone”. From budget phones to flagship killers and more. The Chinese manufacturer offers many affordable gadgets with decent performance, only recent scandals have questioned its privacy policy.

In an interview with Forbes, security researchers Gabriel Kirlig and Andrew Tierney argued that web browsers Xiaomi collect excessive amounts of data, even in incognito mode. This allegedly includes all URLs and searches made in the standard browser MIUI as well as Mi Browser Pro and Mint Browser. Collectively, these browsers have over 15 million downloads on the Google Play store.

This inevitably makes us think and raises the question: is it worth relying on an inexpensive smartphone and trusting it with your data? Are we ready to pay less, but compensate for the “freebie” with our data, to which someone will have access? Or is privacy still more important?

It is true that data collection has become so common these days that many people simply take it for granted. What's most worrying about the findings is that, according to Gabriel Kirlig's findings, Xiaomi uses unique numbers that identify devices and therefore users. According to Forbes, “the device also recorded which folders the user opened and which screens they navigated, including the status bar and settings page.”

Are you ready to sell your privacy for an inexpensive smartphone

It is difficult these days to remain completely protected.

Xiaomi reacted quickly, trying to rebut the claims, stating that they had “misrepresented the facts.” In the referenced blog post, the Chinese manufacturer stated that all data collected is anonymous and that it operates within an industry-accepted standard. However, after such statements, the company released a browser update that allows you to disable the collection of data in incognito mode. As the saying goes, “Coincidence? I don’t think so! ”. It turns out that the company indirectly confirmed the charges. Otherwise, if she is sure of her own righteousness, why should she change something so hastily?

Let's say the company just wanted to reassure its users, but adding a mute option seems a little odd. Why do you need to collect this data at all and enable the user to disable collection? Exact URLs and search terms are not data that is needed to improve the product.

By and large, almost all users have nothing to hide, even though they present themselves as agents. From the point of view of the law, they do not do anything like that and are not interesting to anyone in the government or law enforcement agencies. But everyone has something secret. In order to understand what, you just need to answer the question to yourself, will you be pleased if someone processes all your queries, including stupid questions to search engines, studying personal hygiene items and watching adult videos? Of course, there is nothing fatal in this, but it's unpleasant. Even if it is not a man, but a machine with AI, who is poking around in this dirty laundry. Even if Xiaomi is not going to use the collected information to compromise us, she (or her partners) will still use it for their own purposes.

Are you ready to sell your privacy for an inexpensive smartphone

No one will remain invisible on the network.

Xiaomi claims that all the data it collects is anonymous, although this has been challenged by the findings of security experts and indirectly by its hasty updates. However, even if we take sides Xiaomi in this dispute, there is evidence that some anonymous data may still be associated with users, such as user location information. While browser information is more difficult to associate with a person than location data, it can still be done depending on how the data is collected and stored.

Talking only about Xiaomi is not very correct, since all companies collect data in order to make it easier to promote their products and make them more tailored to customers. For some companies, this is the main business. For example, Google makes the lion's share of its money from advertising and it is logical that it is most interested in knowing what to offer you. To do this, she needs to know how you behave on the Internet.

If almost everyone collects not even browser data, but simply information about the operation of the device, then over time this collection will change and become more perfect and selective. That way, companies will only get what they really need.

In the case of Xiaomi, the addition of the toggle option is also frustrating because it means the default hasn't changed. The Chinese company will continue to collect browser data in incognito mode if users are not aware of the possibility of a ban. It turns out that for the average user who is not particularly tech-savvy, nothing changes even after the upgrade. Considering the fact that Xiaomi is the fourth largest smartphone manufacturer in terms of market share, such users will account for at least millions, but rather even tens of millions.

Are you ready to sell your privacy for an inexpensive smartphone

When buying an inexpensive flagship, remember that no one will give you gifts. Lost profits will be taken over by your data.

Is it worth trading your privacy just to buy a cheaper smartphone and prove to everyone that it is “top for your money”? Many will say that you do not need to use a standard browser and this is a perfectly reasonable proposal, but not everyone wants it. And why should this be done? Where is the guarantee that a third-party browser will not trade my data? If no one noticed the leaks, this does not mean that there were none.

As a result of all of the above, it turns out that companies must work and earn. When they offer something very good, very inexpensive, they have to charge some of your data. This kind of barter is obtained – your information and you yourself become a commodity with which you paid part of the cost of a smartphone.

Nobody says that expensive devices do not steal data, but if they come across on it, then much less often. And they do not need it, since the reputation is more expensive.

So, when it turns out that even incognito mode is insecure in terms of data security, is buying a smartphone really worth your online privacy? Let's think about how valuable our data is and give our answer to smartphone manufacturers.

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