Taiwan Clears Xiaomi, Other Smartphone Makers In Data Breach Investigation
Taiwanese regulators gave green light to Chinese Xiaomi and other smartphone manufacturers after the government raised concerns about data privacy. The government launched a probe in September due to national security concerns.
The investigation was performed by National Communications Commission that published a conclusion report. It said in the report that it tested smartphones sold by 12 brands including Apple Inc, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, LG Electronics Inc and Sony Corp.
The result was that none of them violated the local data protection laws.
Taiwan is becoming wary of potential cyber security threats from world’s second-biggest economy — China. Although China is its largest trading partner, there have been some political issues between the two countries. Hence, the country is more concerned about cyber security threats from China. The scrutiny also included Chinese Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp.
Xiaomi, who has been famous for its budget smartphones, was previously found guilty of breaching data privacy. In August, a Finnish security firm alleged the company of collecting address book data without users’ permission. However, Xiaomi apologized and said that it would change this default feature.
In September, Taiwan’s government started probing Xiaomi and other smartphone makers after the media reports suggested that some smartphones were communicating user private data with the servers in China. But the probe has not found any smartphone depicting such behavior.
The probe was then expanded to include other smartphones — those made in Taiwan as well. The report by NCC said that local firms HTC Corp, Asustek Computer Inc, Far EasTone Telecommunications Co Ltd, Taiwan Mobile Co Ltd and U.S.-based InFocus Corp were also investigated and were cleared of breaching the data protection laws as well.
I think that it is the operating system’s job to let user know about all the data being communicated via user device. If there can be a program that simply scans all the data going in or out of the smartphone and let user know about it, we would not need such investigations as then user may decide which data to send and which to not.
However, these programs face various challenges as there are some advanced techniques that hide the data being communicated. Such scanner program would need sophisticated algorithms to detect data being communicated without user’s permission.