Thursday , May 24 2018

OnePlus co-founder announces changes to data collection after privacy concerns raised


The collection of data from phones by companies has been a hot topic since the Carrier IQ days a few years back. OnePlus was recently found to also be collecting this data, and today co-founder of OnePlus, Carl Pei has taken to the companies forums to address the data collection and explain plans moving forward.

As the original news story broke, OnePlus confirmed in a statement that they collect two types of data – usage analytics and device information, with users free to opt out of the usage analytics through their settings. In his post today, Mr Pei has re-iterated this, as well as giving information on what would happen moving forward.

The summary is that by the end of this month OnePlus will be asking users during the setup process if they wish to opt-in to the user experience program to collect usage analytics rather than be automatically opted in (you can still turn this off now from ‘Settings’ -> ‘Advanced’ -> ‘Join user experience program’). They will also stop tying usage analytics to the device information, and will no longer be collecting telephone numbers, MAC Addresses and WiFi information.

The complete post:

Friends,

We take our users – and their data privacy – very seriously. We want to take this opportunity to tell you a little more about data collection on OnePlus devices; explain what we are collecting and why; and map the changes we will make going forward to address your concerns. While data collection is a standard industry practice, we realize that our users have the right to understand how and why it is done. Please know that we take this matter seriously and will proactively take steps to improve going forward.

OnePlus devices using OxygenOS securely transmit analytics in two different streams, usage analytics and device information.

The reason we collect usage analytics through the user experience program is so we can better understand general phone behavior and optimize OxygenOS for a better overall user experience. At any time, users can opt-out of usage analytics collection by navigating to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Advanced’ -> ‘Join user experience program’.

The reason we collect some device information is to better provide after-sales support. If you opt out of the user experience program, your usage analytics will not be tied to your device information.

We’d like to emphasize that at no point have we shared this information with outside parties. The analytics we’re discussing in this post, which we only look at in aggregate, are collected with the intention of improving our product and service offerings.

By the end of October, all OnePlus phones running OxygenOS will have a prompt in the setup wizard that asks users if they want to join our user experience program. The setup wizard will clearly indicate that the program collects usage analytics. In addition, we will include a terms of service agreement that further explains our analytics collection. We would also like to share we will no longer be collecting telephone numbers, MAC Addresses and WiFi information.

We take privacy very seriously and do not share analytics with third parties. Our intention has always been to better serve our users. Looking ahead, we will continue working directly with our users to do so. We appreciate your patience and feedback.

In terms of response, this is pretty good. OnePlus has had to scramble several times after some awkward PR moments since they launched and they seem to have almost mastered it. There’s very likely going to be some people who don’t care, but if you do care there will be a better way to opt out of any data collection that OnePlus has going on.

Source: OnePlus.

Daniel Tyson   Editor

Dan is a die-hard Android fan. Some might even call him a lunatic. He's been an Android user since Android was a thing, and if there's a phone that's run Android, chances are he owns it (his Nexus collection is second-to-none) or has used it.

Dan's dedication to Ausdroid is without question, and he has represented us at some of the biggest international events in our industry including Google I/O, Mobile World Congress, CES and IFA.

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