Last week, there was an uproar in the Android community, when a security researcher, revealed that OnePlus is collecting a lot of personal data from user devices. This was happening, without the user being aware of the data mining.
Reddit fumed and so did many blogs who criticized OnePlus for this shady practice. And the company has handled the fiasco, in its typical la-di-da manner.
In a post on its forums, OnePlus CEO Carl Pei has spoken about the analytics used in OxygenOS, the firmware on which the company's devices run on. Neither the post's title nor the content is of an apologetic tone. In what seems to be a rather unprofessional manner, Pei, admitted casually that OnePlus collects user data for usage analytics and device information. But he also mentioned this includes telephone numbers, MAC addresses and WiFi information.This is really a cause for concern, as none of these information will actually be needed by any company for analytical purposes, to improve the software. So why was OnePlus spying on its users, under the pretext of the "user experience program"? This is the given reason,
"The reason we collect usage analytics through the user experience program is so we can better understand general phone behaviour and optimize OxygenOS for a better overall user experience. "
So OnePlus needs your phone number, your WiFi SSID, MAC Address etc., sent to its servers, to improve your experience? How is your number going to help them fix any bug? The bigger question is, who has access to these data? It seems like OnePlus is trying to pretend nothing serious like a breach of privacy has happened, when it has been caught red-handed. Pei in an attempt to calm things down, has mentioned that a future OxygenOS update will let users opt of out of the user experience program from the set-up wizard. Users can also opt-out of this from Settings > Advanced > Join user experience program, even now.
Not cool, OnePlus.
If you have a OnePlus device and are worried by this, we suggest flashing a custom ROM.