Xiaomi has updated the Mi Browser, Mi Browser Pro, and Mint Browser with an improved “incognito” mode that allows users to switch on or off “aggregated data collection” , which was found by security researchers last week. The new updates notably come days after the Chinese company claimed news reports misinterpreted the findings of the researchers. Xiaomi has not, however, issued any statement on the other tracking issues that the researchers raised.
In an update to its blog post providing clarity to the privacy concerns raised by the security researchers last week, Xiaomi has announced that it has updated Mi Browser and Mi Browser Pro to version 12.1.4 as well as Mint Browser to version 3.4.3. The updates bring an option related to the incognito mode for all users to let them switch on or off the aggregated data collection.
Aggregated data collection is disabled by default. You can, however, check whether you've got the improved incognito mode on your Xiaomi browser by going to Settings > Incognito mode settings from the browser. You'll see the Enhanced Incognito mode option that once enabled allows Xiaomi to collect your browsing data, including the search queries you pass on through Google and other search engines.
You can download the updated Mi Browser Pro and Mint Browser for your Android device directly from Google Play. However, for MIUI users who have pre-installed the Mi Browser, which they can't uninstall as well, an update will gradually be available over-the-air that could be installed manually by going to Settings > System apps updater.
From saying ‘fake news' to 'software update'
Xiaomi initially refuted the Forbes report citing the security researchers Gabi Cirlig and Andrew Tierney revealing privacy concerns on the Mi Browser, Mi Browser Pro, and Mint Browser. The company said, “We feel they have misunderstood what we communicated regarding our data privacy principles and policy.” Xiaomi India Managing Director Manu Kumar Jain also posted a video and a note stating that the details showing the Mi Browser collecting unnecessary information while browsing and sending the user data to other countries “is incorrect and not true.”
However, Tierney released a video in response to Jain's refusals and highlighted the data collection issues of Xiaomi browsers even when using the incognito mode, before Xiaomi rolled out the latest update.
No other fixes
In addition to the issues within the Mi Browser, Mi Browser Pro, and Mint Browser, the security researchers raised some other privacy concerns in Xiaomi phones. “It's a backdoor with phone functionality,” said Gabi Cirlig, as quoted by Forbes.
The researcher was able to find that “a worrying amount of his behaviour” was tracked by his Redmi Note 8 at the time of testing. Further, he was able to see that the device was able to record what folders he opened to which screens he swiped, including the status bar and the settings page. All such issues are yet to be addressed by Xiaomi.
Gadgets 360 has reached out to Xiaomi for clarity on those fixes and will update this space as and when the company responds.
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