Chinese Mobile Phones Record User Activity

cageymaru

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Chinese phones have been the subject of security issues and as we previously reported; some companies have even been banned from contracts in the USA. Until now it has all been speculation on how and when do these devices spy on their users. Chinese users are reporting that their phones will enable the camera to take an image of them every single time that they open a web browser or use social media. Not only that but the microphone records everything that is said when an application is launched. These backdoors cannot be disabled which leaves the users wondering what is happening to their data. The companies accused of enabling these backdoors say that they are a feature designed to make services better. This makes me wonder about the lifting of the ZTE ban after a cash payment.

Different from most mobile phones, where a camera can be activated without giving the user any signal, the Vivo NEX has a tiny retractable camera that physically pops out from the top of the device when it is turned on. One Weibo user observed that the retractable camera self-activates whenever he opens a new chat on Telegram, a messaging application designed for secured and encrypted communication.
 

PigLover

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Taking images and speech snippets is a bit of an escalation, but both Google and Apple track so much activity info that they already have your whole usage history logged. Why so much animus against the Chinese when our own American companies are at least as bad?
 

cageymaru

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Taking images and speech snippets is a bit of an escalation, but both Google and Apple track so much activity info that they already have your whole usage history logged. Why so much animus against the Chinese when our own American companies are at least as bad?
Because Google, Apple etc have a contract that you have to accept that states you give them the right to X data collection whereas the Chinese phones do it without notifying you. I think you'd agree that's a slight difference in approach?
 

PenGunn

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My Huawei will get rooted, like every other phone I have owned, if it pisses me off. So far I'm very pleased with it.

I do not care what they do with anything they can slurp. Compared to the rest of the slurp traffic, its tiny.
 
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Under capitalism Corporatism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite.

Separating the two is an important distinction.

What's wrong with Capitalism in a mutual, friendly and consenting exchange of goods and services? Honestly you can't expect everyone to just 'share things' and for others not to exploit or game that generosity, that's not really how humans work.. sadly.

Indeed you can increasingly liken our modern day 'corporatocracy' to communism, hence the phrase 'corporate communism'.
 
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katanaD

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Because Google, Apple etc have a contract that you have to accept that states you give them the right to X data collection whereas the Chinese phones do it without notifying you. I think you'd agree that's a slight difference in approach?


a new story of some app or such you installed on your phone gathering data without your consent is sorta a constant.
 

Spidey329

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is xiaomi safe?

No. Iirc, they're state owned. Their security cameras (sold under the Xiaomi Yi line) have been shown to call home. It's even in their ToS for the equipment.

It's why I only use their brand of stuff if I can install a hacked / open-source firmware to it.

Just Chinese? Im pretty sure all do to some extent.

I think the major difference is that the average Joe being tracked by a US company will likely get more relevant ads and some keyword meta sent to the spy agencies. With a Chinese company, it's state-owned and they have a tendency to steal technology. So if you're just a regular Joe that doesn't do anything, you're probably fine. If you work in a business or ever handle any type of important data (email, schematics, business plans, etc.), you're better off being spied on by the US.
 
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MrDeaf

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I wonder if "Honor" safe?
I don't understand how they can make their 7X / 9 Lite that cheaply with those parts...
Certainly they must be getting funding from somewhere...
 

dgz

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Separating the two is an important distinction.

What's wrong with Capitalism in a mutual, friendly and consenting exchange of goods and services? Honestly you can't expect everyone to just 'share things' and for others not to exploit or game that generosity, that's not really how humans work.. sadly.

Indeed you can increasingly liken our modern day 'corporatocracy' to communism, hence the phrase 'corporate communism'.

What do you mean everyone? You don't need everyone for anything to work. Sharing is good because it works. You don't have to be a dirty hippie to realize that. How about a Mortal Kombat 3 (DOS version) based meritocracy?
 

cageymaru

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a new story of some app or such you installed on your phone gathering data without your consent is sorta a constant.
Agreed but you can usually sue the maker of the app, software, or phone. How do you sue a mystery server owner in China who has pictures that you didn't take?
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I keep saying I would never buy a Huawei/Honor/ZTE/OnePlus/etc. device.

It's bad enough that all of our devices are manufactured over there. I'm not going to buy one that is designed there.
 

katanaD

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Agreed but you can usually sue the maker of the app, software, or phone. How do you sue a mystery server owner in China who has pictures that you didn't take?


while.. technically true, whats the point? Both sides intentionally setup their software to capture all sorts of data. in china.. when its found out, wells.. sucks to be you. outside, sure you can sue.,. and maybe if enough people band together an "issue" can be made of it. if enough of a stink can be made, then the company will issue an apology, and maybe a fix. but you know what, at that point, its moot because they already have your data and.. it sucks to be you the consumer.

so.. large companies and gov orgs can still get what they want and it sucks to be the end user, where ever they are on the planet. Its only here, people think we have it better because companies can make an "apology" after the fact.. and its all COOL !! but you, the end user, is still getting screwed.

but yeah.. its china thats the bad guys..

LOL
 

Jagger100

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Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite.
I assume this is what you meant?
upload_2018-7-16_15-46-44.png
 

cageymaru

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while.. technically true, whats the point? Both sides intentionally setup their software to capture all sorts of data. in china.. when its found out, wells.. sucks to be you. outside, sure you can sue.,. and maybe if enough people band together an "issue" can be made of it. if enough of a stink can be made, then the company will issue an apology, and maybe a fix. but you know what, at that point, its moot because they already have your data and.. it sucks to be you the consumer.

so.. large companies and gov orgs can still get what they want and it sucks to be the end user, where ever they are on the planet. Its only here, people think we have it better because companies can make an "apology" after the fact.. and its all COOL !! but you, the end user, is still getting screwed.

but yeah.. its china thats the bad guys..

LOL
Ha ha I agree with you. I'd still rather go down with a company that I can sue, than one that is inaccessible to me. I did think it was freaking hilarious that the issue was discovered because the camera kept protracting and retracting. :) Could you imagine every text that you send your phone's camera extends out, takes a picture of you, then recedes back into the evil device. :) ;) ;)
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Using the camera and microphone to spy with is a little bit over the top, don't ya think? At least Google gives you a free email account and phone OS for their targeted ads.

Thing is this. I may not like that Google collects my data, but at least I know what they are after. They want to target ads at me. I can live with that.

Apps are another area all together, but I predominantly use apps from large U.S. based corporations, and in general their data usage also falls along the lines of advertising.

I don't have a clue what Chinese military intelligence or criminal underground may want my data for. To steal my company's tech? Probably.
 

cageymaru

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Thing is this. I may not like that Google collects my data, but at least I know what they are after. They want to target ads at me. I can live with that.

Apps are another area all together, but I predominantly use apps from large U.S. based corporations, and in general their data usage also falls along the lines of advertising.

I don't have a clue what Chinese military intelligence or criminal underground may want my data for. To steal my company's tech? Probably.
Well said!
 

maxz01

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I wonder what kind of society the Chinese leadership will create once they have complete control over their population. Interesting possibilities for sure! Then again, not really relevant because humans are not relevant anymore in a few decades and the world belongs to robots.
 

Overblod

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Every connected device made in china will have a back door. More powerful devices like phones will spy and do all of that good stuff but even smart switches can be bots, used on dos attacks....
 

Exavior

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Apple and Google already do the same, they also both "accidently" record data and send it to others from time to time for good measures. So not too surprised about any of this.
 

xmadror

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is xiaomi safe?

No. Iirc, they're state owned. Their security cameras (sold under the Xiaomi Yi line) have been shown to call home. It's even in their ToS for the equipment.

It's why I only use their brand of stuff if I can install a hacked / open-source firmware to it.



I think the major difference is that the average Joe being tracked by a US company will likely get more relevant ads and some keyword meta sent to the spy agencies. With a Chinese company, it's state-owned and they have a tendency to steal technology. So if you're just a regular Joe that doesn't do anything, you're probably fine. If you work in a business or ever handle any type of important data (email, schematics, business plans, etc.), you're better off being spied on by the US.

I would assume they are not. I have a xiaomi mi a1, awesome smartphone for the price. I'm running the "pixel experience" rom from xda dev and its been great.
 

lostin3d

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Be nice if someone could go all Snowden on one of these collection servers. Just sayin'
 
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"of course they are, just like Google etc.."

Saying the above is more than mere fact, but also can be used to replace the attitude: "we aren't going to take this" with a feeling of withdrawal and despair. I still have a small hope that enough people can band together delay or perhaps reverse what seems inevitable, that is the constant erosion our privacy and rights as a consumer.
 
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