OnePlus has been facing heat from consumers around the world for collecting data from their smartphones without the user’s consent. Carl Pei, OnePlus’ co-founder came forward on the official forum to clear the air surrounding the data collection. Usually, smartphones collect data from users that cannot be used to identify them individually. But in OnePlus’ case, as discovered by a security researcher, the phone maker is “tracking and compiling identifiable data from its users.”
To this, Carl Pei responded that they have come up with changes in their data collection policy. As a part of this change, all the OnePlus smartphones running OxygenOS will provide a prompt to the user to choose whether they would like to share their data or not under their user experience program. This is a major change since OnePlus never asked for the user’s consent for collecting data. The surprising part is that OnePlus smartphones collect Wi-Fi information, telephone numbers, and MAC addresses for an unspecified reason. Addressing this, Carl Pei said that this practice would now stop. Other than this, the OxygenOS will come with a Terms of Service agreement stating the kind of data the company collects and the reason for the same. Claiming data collection as a regular industry practice, Carl Pei defended the data gathering by stating that it is inspected only on a large scale with a goal of improving its products and after-sales services.
Another concern is the gathering of MAC addresses since their value is much appreciated as individual elements of data rather than an aggregate. Carl Pei also assured that OnePlus has never shared any data with third parties and does not plan to do it either. Currently, the users don’t have a choice to enter the user experience program but they can drop out of it. To do so, go to the “Advanced” section of the Settings app and find “Join user experience program”. OnePlus will be rolling out an update which will provide a prompt to the user if they want to be part of the update or not.