Late last week, security researchers discovered that the browser pre-installed on Xiaomi’s smartphone was tracking a user’s browsing history, search engine queries, and more. The behavior was present even when one uses the incognito mode in the browser which goes against the whole purpose of using the mode.
Due to the outrage that followed, Xiaomi was quick to issue a statement on the matter claiming that it places great importance on user’s privacy and security. It noted that in incognito mode, it is only collecting aggregated usage statistics from users and the data was being anonymized. However, since the move still defeated the entire purpose of using incognito mode in the browser, Xiaomi smartphone users and security researchers were not happy.
Now, thanks to the backlash and after understanding the concerns of its customers, Xiaomi has rolled out an update for its pre-loaded Mi Browser along with the Mi Browser Pro and Mint Browser on Google Play that will allow users to turn on/off aggregated data collection in incognito mode. Combined, the latter two browsers have over 15 million downloads on the Play Store. The move comes after Xiaomi had claimed that it was “disappointed” reading the Forbes article since it misrepresented the facts and “misunderstood” the company’s data privacy principles and policy.
If you own a Xiaomi smartphone or use the Mi Browser/Mint Browser, you should consider updating the app and then turn off aggregated data collection option while in incognito mode. Do note that the browser will still continue to collect aggregated usage behavior in regular browsing mode.