October 30, 2020

Xiaomi will now let you opt out of data collection in incognito mode

Xiaomi has updated the Mi Browser, Mi Browser Pro, and Mint Browser with a new privacy option.

Xiaomi has responded to recent allegations of privacy and data collection malpractices by updating the Mi Browser, Mi Browser Pro, and Mint Browser.

The company was under fire from users and cybersecurity experts after a Forbes report detailed how its browsers collected a worrying amount of user data.

According to the report, cybersecurity experts found that Xiaomi’s browsers recorded all web browsing data of a user, even in incognito mode. What was more worrying that the researchers presented evidence that the data, including unique device identifiers, was being sent to remote servers with “easily crackable encoding.�

“Taking browser behavior, including URLs, without explicit consent and in private browsing mode, is about as bad as it gets,� a security researcher noted in the Forbes report.

Xiaomi denied the allegations and said that all the data that it collects is sent to its servers in an anonymized fashion. Xiaomi also denied that browsing data was being recorded under the incognito mode.

As per the company, it collects “aggregate usage statistics data� in incognito mode. This includes: system information, preferences, user interface feature usage, responsiveness, performance, memory usage, and crash reports. This data cannot be used to identify an individual, the company argued in response to Forbes’ report.

Mi Browser, Mint Browser updates

As part of a further response, Xiaomi is now introducing a new setting for the incognito mode on the Mi and Mint browsers. This new option will allow users to opt out of aggregated data collection in incognito mode.

The latest versions of the browsers are: Mi Browser/Mi Browser Pro v12.1.4, and Mint Browser v3.4.3. These updates should now be available on all the browsers on the Google Play Store as well as their pre-loaded versions.

Xiaomi was also accused of collecting data about folders, screens, and settings opened on its phones by users. The company hasn’t clarified much about this practice, except a generic statement saying “all collected usage data is based on permission and consent given explicitly by our users.�

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