Xiaomi to set up data centre to address security concerns

Xiaomi has sold about half-a-million Redmi devices and 1.2 lakh Mi3 handsets this year. Photo: Kamal Narang

Xiaomi has sold about half-a-million Redmi devices and 1.2 lakh Mi3 handsets this year. Photo: Kamal Narang  

Chinese handset maker Xiaomi, trying to assuage consumers’ fear over security of their data, on Monday, said it planned to set up data centres in India by next year to host services and store data locally.

The move comes soon after reports of the Indian Air Force issuing directive, asking its personnel not to buy Xiaomi smartphones citing security concerns.

Xiaomi has already >partnered Amazon Web Services to migrate services and corresponding data of all international users (including from India) from the Beijing data centre to the U.S. and Singapore. The process is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

“In 2015, we plan to launch a local data centre in India to serve the needs of (and store data for) our Indian users,” the company said.

>Xiaomi, which entered India in July, created a stir in the smartphone market with its low priced but feature-rich smartphones. It sells through ecommerce major Flipkart, and is estimated to have sold about half a million Redmi devices and 1.2 lakh Mi3 handsets.

“These efforts help significantly improve the performance of our services and also provide some peace of mind for users in India, ensuring that we treat their data with utmost care and the highest privacy standards,” the company said.

Last week, the >Indian Air Force had asked its IAF personnel and their families to desist from using Chinese ‘Xiaomi Redmi 1s’ phones as these are believed to be transferring data to their servers in China and could be a security risk. Xiaomi said they would engage with Indian authorities to address such concerns.

“There have been reports about an IAF circular claiming that Xiaomi phones are a security threat… we are attempting to reach Indian authorities to learn specifics,” the company said.

Security concerns over Xiaomi smartphones started cropping earlier this year, when security solutions provider F-Secure had, in a report, stated that Xiaomi Redmi 1S phone was sending data, including the user’s IMEI, phone number, and phone numbers of contacts added to the phone book to a remote server.

Xiaomi, however, has maintained that it collects data only with the user's permission to offer specific services like cloud.

“We do not collect any data associated with services such as Mi Cloud and Cloud Messaging until the user provides explicit consent by turning on the corresponding service(s). Even after users have turned on these services, they can turn them off at any point of time. We take rigorous precautions to ensure that all data is secured when uploaded to Xiaomi servers and is not stored beyond the time required,” Xiaomi said.

The company further stated it encrypts data using AES-128 standard before storing, which makes it ‘practically impossible’ for anyone to steal this information. “No single person, including Xiaomi employees, can decrypt user data stored in Mi Cloud, even if they get access to the hard drives,” it added.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 12:20:51 AM |

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