We recently covered a report on OnePlus allegedly collecting personally identifiable information about its users through the OxygenOS analytics software. How the company handles such information has been questioned in the past so this new report about its analytics software didn’t help the case any further. Today though, co-founder of OnePlus Carl Pei published a forum post about the issue at hand and spoke about why they collected certain data and how things will change in the future.
The original report came from Christopher Moore and it recently started to gain traction online thanks to the Android community sharing with others. Mr. Moore discovered that his OnePlus 2 was sending HTTPS requests to the domain open.oneplus.net and was able to decrypt the data that was being sent. The data that the company has been collecting from its users includes screen on, screen off, device unlock events, abnormal reboots, serial number, IMEI, phone numbers, MAC addresses, mobile network(s) names and IMSI prefixes, app open/close timestamps, and wireless network ESSID and BSSID.
Now, collecting analytical data from users is something that many businesses are built upon and it’s something that does enable smartphone manufacturers to learn how people are using their products, so that in turn they can improve them in the future. The issue here is that OnePlus had been collecting personally identifiable information and this is something that not only unneeded, but an invasion of privacy from the company.
So Carl Pei published a forum post today detailing why they collect this data (so they can better provide after-sales support, which they promised to improved) and then explained that if you opt out of the user experience program (Settings -> Advanced -> Join User Experience Program) then your usage analytics will not be tied to your device information. He states that the company does not share this information with outside parties and it’s something they only look at in aggregate.
Still, he says they’re making some changes and that by the end of October, “all OnePlus phones running OxygenOS will have a prompt in the setup wizard that asks users if they want to join our user experience program.” Not only that, but he also stated that OnePlus “will no longer be collecting telephone numbers, MAC Addresses and WiFi information.”