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OnePlus responds to data collection complaints, promises urgent fix

OnePlus has promised to make significant changes to the way it collects user data after last week’s privacy debacle.

It was recently revealed that certain OnePlus phones were hoovering up user data to help with bug fixes and improve customer support. A software engineer named Christopher Moore discovered that his OnePlus 2 was shipping potentially sensitive data to OnePlus servers, including his smartphone IMEI number, phone number, MAC address, mobile network names, Wi-Fi connection info, and details of every time an app was opened – and timestamps of activities being fire up within those applications too.

OnePlus was quick to offer an explanation of why the data was being collected, saying that it’s “to more precisely fine tune our software according to user behaviour” and to “provide better after-sales support”. The company also added that it doesn’t share analytics data with outside parties, and offered advice on how to disable the feature.

But the company has gone one step further, with co-founder Carl Pei issuing a a lengthy statement detailing how the company takes privacy “very seriously”, and explaining why the data was collected.

“We’d like to emphasise 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.”

Pei also confirmed that the company would be putting a stop to the default collection of such analytics.

“By the end of October, all OnePlus phones running OxygenOS will have a prompt in the setup wizard that asks if they want to join our user experience program,” Pei said. “The setup wizard will clearly indicate that the program collects usage analytics.”

He went on: “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 or Wi-Fi information.”

Related: OnePlus 5T

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