OnePlus, the popular smartphone maker has landed in trouble yet again. According to some reports, OnePlus has been harvesting unanonymised data analytics from its buyers. A researcher has revealed that OnePlus 2 has been sending particular patterns to a company server and that too without any kind of permission. Meanwhile, OnePlus was quick to respond to this issue by saying that the data collection is being done only to improve the smartphone’s performance. It also added that the data transmission can be switched off. Here’s what the issue is all about.
OnePlus has recently witnessed a slew of controversies, especially regarding its latest OnePlus 5 smartphone. While most of the issues have been regarding benchmark rankings, the phone design, and the display; but this is possibly the first time it has been accused of collecting personally identifiable analytics data from mobile owners. According to a blog post by a software engineer named Christopher Moore, reveals the details. OnePlus has said that the data only contains ‘usage analytics’ which is used to ‘fine tune our software’. However, questions are being raised on why would the company want to collect phone numbers, IMEI numbers, MAC addresses, and also IMSI prefix codes.
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. In his blog, Moore says: “They’re collecting timestamped metrics on certain events, some of which I understand – from a development point of view, wanting to know about abnormal reboots seems legitimate – but the screen on/off and unlock activities feel excessive.”
Meanwhile, OnePlus has given a statement to Android Police, where it has said that a majority of the data collection can be avoided by following this path: ‘Settings-Advanced-Join user experience program’. Here you can disable that toggle. Also, according to Android Police, users can remove the OnePlus Device Manager using ADB tool. This is a key app which collects and transmits the data to OnePlus’ servers.
While it is true that most big mobile companies are known to collect data from our phones, most of it is with our consent. OnePlus seems to have been caught because it has not been using users’ permission. It is upto the user to realise how proper is the company’s response. Meanwhile, you can use the above methods to stop the collection and transmission of data. However, the performance of your device could get affected by it.