In Xiaomi’s default browsers, Xiaomi monitored and registered an incredible amount of private data, from the user’s phone habits to queries.

Xiaomi tracks all search queries and things displayed on its default browser (Mi Browser Pro) as well as on the Mint browser, according to a cybersecurity researcher, Cirlig. The monitoring applies even to mode Incognito.

The researcher was able to confirm the same pattern on other Xiaomi phones, including Mi 10, Redmi K20, and Mi MIX 3.

Xiaomi, in response, confirmed that it collects browsing data. However, the company says the data sent is anonymized, and users have consented to the data tracking. Meanwhile, it denied claims of information being monitored in Incognito mode.

The researcher, however, was able to prove that Xiaomi is recording Incognito mode data as well. In a video, he showcases how the information of him visiting a porn website in incognito mode is being sent to the servers. When shown with proof, Xiaomi said, “collection of anonymous browsing data, is one of the most common solutions adopted by internet companies.”

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Is it anonymous?

When the information tracked in browsers is compiled with phone’s “metadata” collected by Xiaomi, Cirlig says the company can quickly identify a single person.

My main concern for privacy is that the data sent to their servers can be very quickly correlated with a specific user.
Other than the browser data, Cirlig also noticed monitoring in Xiaomi apps and his touches on every screen. For instance, he observed the Xiaomi default music player app collecting information on his listening habits.
Upon much digging, the researcher was able to connect the app’s data monitoring with SensorDataAPI, which enables third-party access to app data. In the case of Xiaomi, the third was Sensors Analytics, a startup known for tracking users.
While Xiaomi validated the findings, it claimed that the data collected by Sensors Analytics remains anonymous and is stored on Xiaomi’s servers.

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