In a recent news, you may start losing faith in your much-loved OnePlus device. By the look of things, the device OnePlus have been spying on the personal information of the users, as well as some other device-related data without the consent of the user.
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Discovery of the issue
The matter first came into light when a UK-based security researcher identified this very issue. Known as Chris Moore, the researcher found out an unaccustomed domain (open.oneplus.net), that too, by chance when he was busy with the SANS Holiday Hack Challenge.
In his blog post, he has explained how the data is transmitted from his OnePlus 2 device to an Amazon AWS instance. Moreover, the data which was collected by the OnePlus device includes:
- IMEI number
- Serial number
- MAC address
- IMSI prefix
- Phone number
- Wireless ESSID
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In addition, the usage habits of a particular user are also monitored; for instance, which apps are frequently used and for how much time, etc.
The amount of data which can be used and manipulated is massive. However, according to a Twitter user Jakub Czekański, there is a way out and the ‘feature’ can be disabled for good through adb.
@chrisdcmoore I've read your article about OnePlus Analytics. Actually, you can disable it permanently: pm uninstall -k –user 0 pkg
— Jakub Czekański (@JaCzekanski) October 10, 2017
How to protect the device from possible spying?
On the other hand, OnePlus has given the justification by stating that the data collection takes place over secure connections. It is primarily utilized to polish the software for better user experience besides improving their ‘after-sales support’.
A user can opt out of this process by tapping to:
Settings > Advanced > Join user experience program > Select off
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Regardless of the OnePlus’ reasons, data collection without the consent of the user is simply unacceptable. There are many companies which collect the data of the user to improve upon their products. However, in this very case, OnePlus never asked user permission for it.