NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is continuing with its advisory asking its personnel to refrain from using Xiaomi smartphones manufactured in China.
Express had first reported on October 19 that in an alert dated August 12 issued to air warriors and their family members, the IAF had claimed that smartphones and notebooks manufactured by Xiaomi have been found to send users’ private data from these devices to servers based in Beijing.
The IAF alert, accessed by Express, has come with ‘medium’ severity rating and has mentioned three Xiaomi handsets, including Xiaomi Redmi 1S, Xiaomi Redmi Note and Xiaomi Mi-3, which were suspected to be sending user data to remote servers located in China.
Refuting reports in a section of the media that the advisory was issued five months back, an IAF spokesperson told Express, “The IAF’s advisory was based on a study carried out by F-Secure. We issued it on August 12 and we are not withdrawing it. We maintain our stand.”
It is significant that Xiaomi launched its India operations in July and some media reports have said that the IAF advisory was issued even before the company launched its domestic operations.
“F-Secure, a leading security solutions company, recently carried out a test of Xiaomi Redmi 1s, the company’s budget smartphone, and found that the phone was forwarding the carrier name, phone number, IMEI (the device identifier) plus numbers from the address book and text messages back to Beijing,” said the IAF alert.
Meanwhile, Xiaomi’s global vice president Hugo Barra, in an e-mail statement said, “Since early 2014, we have been migrating our services and corresponding data for Indian users from our Beijing data centres to Amazon AWS data centres in Singapore and the USA. This migration will be fully completed by the end of the year.”