Data security concerns force Xiaom into India data center plan

Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaom is to set up a datacenter in India to allay fears over data security raised by the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaom is to set up a datacenter in India to allay fears over data security raised by the Indian Air Force (IAF).

By the first quarter of 2015, India will host Xiaomi’s fourth customer data center. The plans were triggered when the IAF raised concerns over data security with cheap handsets like the Redmi 1s.

The new data center will help Xiaomi migrate all corresponding data and related services to India from the current data center at Beijing.

Xiaomi released its first device in 2011 and today is the third largest global distributor. However, unlike the top two smart phone makers, Xiaomi counts India as its largest market outside China. It is also slated to soon come up with the first few 4G enabled handsets in India. Currently, Xiaomi sells its devices through Flipkart, the biggest online retailer.

However, concerning the security of risks of Indian data being managed from Beijing, the company issued a statement: “In 2015, we plan to launch a local data center in India to serve the needs of (and store data for) our Indian users. These efforts help significantly improve the performance of our services and also provide some peace of mind for users in India, ensuring that we treat their data with utmost care and the highest privacy standards”.

The security issues with the Redmi 1s was raised by F-Secure, a Finnish digital security firm and the IAF too asked its personnel not to use the new device. Hugo Barra, the vice president of Xiaomi replied that, “We are trying to get to the bottom of this. So far, we have not heard anything from the IAF or any other authorities and have only read media reports. We will reach out to the authorities and engage with them to address the issue”.

Xiaomi added: “We do not collect any data associated with services such as Mi Cloud and Cloud Messaging until the user provides explicit consent by turning on the corresponding service(s). Even after users have turned on these services, they can turn them off at any point of time. We take rigorous precautions to ensure that all data is secured when uploaded to Xiaomi servers and is not stored beyond the time required. No single person, including Xiaomi employees, can decrypt user data stored in Mi Cloud, even if they get access to the hard drives.”

For users like Asmit Basu, software developer at Alumnus Software, “Smartphones have widened the purposes of the traditional mobile phone. Being connected at all times and making your transactions easier are the major purposes but with frequent news concerning security threats, I certainly would like a device that promises utmost privacy.”

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