Xiaomi Browser Incognito Mode Controversy Explained

If you follow our Monday-Saturday Tech News on Whatsapp then you know about the Xiaomi Browser and its Incognito mode privacy issues. This controversy was growing day by day.

But exactly happened? Due to the limitations, I could not explain the events in detail. So finally, I am here with the complete series of episodes.

What Exactly Happened in Xiaomi Browser Controversy?

Xiaomi Office Headquarters

Phase 1: Forbes Exposed Xiaomi

Forbes is one of the biggest agencies in the world with more than 170 Million monthly visitors.

On 2nd May 2020, Forbes published a report where it accused Xiaomi of sending the private data from its browsers to Chinese servers.

[Forbes Report]

According to this report, two cybersecurity experts Cirlig and Tierney carried out some experimental tests and researches.

They found that every Xiaomi user is given a unique identity and all the data associated with a user is bundled into packages and sent to Chinese servers.

It’s not the concern that data is being extracted because many Internet companies do that.

The major concern is about tracking the incognito mode and that too at a personal level. Usually, this data comes under the big data that is useless if seen individually.

But here, the case is different.

[Also Read: Can I remain anonymous by Incognito mode?]

Moreover, 3 major browsers from Xiaomi are doing the same – MI Browser, MI Browser Pro, Mint Browser.

Phase 2: Xiaomi’s Comeback

Xiaomi’s spokesperson came up with the obvious replies that they don’t harvest any data at the personal level. But whatever they reap is only used to improve the user experience.

Mind you, Xiaomi’s spokesperson also denied that browsing data was being recorded under incognito mode. But what they did will shock you. Check out phase 3.

Then came the Managing Director of Xiaomi India and Global Vice-President of Xiaomi – Manu Kumar Jain.

He posted this video on YouTube addressing the Indian MI users.

I found the clarifications vague and baseless. Unlike Forbes that gave some solid proofs and evidence, Manu’s video was merely a generic talk.

Phase 3: Researchers Coming With Proofs

As soon as Xiaomi announced that the brand is not at all collecting any data and incognito mode is perfectly safe, cyber warriors took the chance.

Several Cyber Security Agencies and analysts got their prey and they started attacking Xiaomi.

Yet, Xiaomi was adamant. Too adamant to acknowledge the issues. Instead, they chose another way.

Check out Phase 4!

Phase 4: Xiaomi’s Quiet Amendments

And here comes the funniest part. While Xiaomi spokesperson and MD were busy explaining to people that they don’t collect data from incognito mode, they quietly pushed an update on all their browsers.

I can’t see MI Browser on store any more. Moreover if you check ‘What’s New’ section of Mint Browser and MI Browser Pro, you will find this:

Xiaomi Browser Data Leak

Xiaomi didn’t leave it here. They even complicated the Incognito mode further.

By default the ‘Enhanced Incognito Mode’ will always be enabled. But you need to go into deep settings and disable it.

Does a normal user goes so deep? Won’t the user get confused whether we need to enable or disable it?

What did that mean? Does it imply that Xiaomi was doing everything that Forbes report claimed?

I’d leave that choice up to you.


My Take On This

Chinese has always been in the wrong impressions yet the countries could never do anything about it.

Currently, we can’t manufacture and sell high-quality smartphones at cheaper rates. I have mentioned the reasons in my other blog.

[Read it: Why Can’t We Manufacture Mobile Phones in India?]

These Chinese brands are the ones that push more Chinese apps like UC Browser, MI Browser, Helo, and so on. Worse fact is that they don’t even use those apps for themselves.

[Find out why: Chinese Alternatives To Popular Apps And Websites]

But we still have a way out.

C’mon we can’t force Indians to not buy Chinese phones because most of the people are under financial burden.

Better way?

Indian Government can definitely ask brands to keep their phones clean without any bloatware. Make it compulsory.

Ask brands to not add any funky UI touch to their phones but keep a pure Stock Android that is officially provided by Google.

Moreover, we seriously need some strict data privacy laws similar to European nations. Smartphone brands and internet companies misuse the unavailability of stricter laws.

Finally, stop serving the soft porn in the name of Ads!

What do you think about the overall Xiaomi Browser Incognito Mode Issues and Controversy? Also, are you using a Xiaomi smartphone? Let me know.

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