back to article Surprise! China's top Android phones collect way more info

Don't buy an Android phone in China, boffins have warned, as they come crammed with preinstalled apps transmitting privacy-sensitive data to third-party domains without consent or notice. The research, conducted by Haoyu Liu (University of Edinburgh), Douglas Leith (Trinity College Dublin), and Paul Patras (University of …

  1. Sampler

    As an owner of a Xiaomi

    Any way to stop this (without the purchase of another handset, I'm really enjoying the 1" sensor camera and leica software)?

    Admittedly I probably send as much data to google with all their apps, but, would at least like to be able to curtail the worst here if nothing but to improve the system performance and cut down battery drain.

    1. jgarbo
      Facepalm

      Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

      Does it really matter? My Redmi Note 10 might be telling Chinese Intelligence where I had noodles in Bangkok last night. So what? Is anyone so important as to bother the Chinese with a few phone calls. More Western delusions of grandeur...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

        If someone with "unacceptable" political views happens to be eating noodles at the table beside you, you could end up on a potential dissident list, or with a black mark against you on a travel watch list. Ever wonder why some people just seem to be the ones that are always picked on in security checks?

        1. Ideasource Bronze badge

          Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

          Reputation does tend to follow The company you keep by association or proximity.

          This natural mechanism precedes the electronic age, continues across modern social connections, and is likely based in imperfections unavoidable and inherent to human social connection.

          Basically nothing new and it's not going anywhere. It's a non-event.

          Funny how a recycled awareness of a pre-existing omnipresent social mechanic creates the illusion of new threat.

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

          >with a black mark against you on a travel watch list

          So long as it's a Chinese government travel watch list I'm good.

          Don't plan on going and if the Chinese suspect I'm a capitalist - fine.

          Now Google/Apple reporting to their government that I was sitting next to a democrat, and them adding me to a no-fly list/credit card blacklist/etc kind of fscks me up - and I don't even live in Americaland

      2. msknight

        Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

        Yes, it matters. In the recent protests that Chinese people made against winnie the poo, there was no military crackdown, but after it had all settled chinese authorities started vanishing people. This also included people who lived in the areas of the protests or were just going to the shops in the vicinity. There's a fair amount of noise about what's going on with people vanishing, mobile phones, privacy, tracking, etc. and chinese people are waking up to the realities of all this.

      3. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

        They don't care...as long as you keep your trap shut. As soon as you start criticizing Xi or the CCP they might come after you and start reading stuff off your phone or add kiddie-porn to it to implicate you.

        Don't be so foolish as to think this is all harmless.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

        It doesn't. The Chinese gov is as good and trustworthy as American Corporation.

        1. bjr

          Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

          That's idiotic. Google might know every step I take but all they want to do is send ads to me. They don't have a gulag, they don't shoot people. The Chinese government does have an extensive system of slave labor camps. They do shoot dissidents.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

            Have you seen most of YouTube? Very gulaging to me.

            They also don't need to kill you. Just unperson you. They get off on that and its just as damaging.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

              What a load of bullshit. Even by Internet standards, that's an astoundingly stupid thing to claim.

              Google could delete every bit of information they have about me and it really wouldn't trouble me much. There'd be some hassle setting up a new email account for my personal stuff.

              Killing me would be rather more damaging.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

            OOO. I thought of this much later, but there is nothing prevent Google to making up some log files saying that you rape and murder children, have a sizable video and picture collection, and hand it over to the authorities.

            You will not be able to argue against it. Too many trust Google way too much.

            They have it even better than China. They don't have to get their hand dirty. They let the US Gov do it.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Short of rooting it and installing vanilla Android

      No.

      Which runs the risk you might not be able to take advantage of stuff like that 1" sensor...

    3. Screepy

      Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

      @Sampler - you haven't said whether your Xiaomi was bought in China or not.

      The article is suggesting that the android phones made for the Chinese market are the ones of real concern. ie. they are slurping way more personal data than the same model of phone sold outside of China.

      Basically, all phones are sucking up too much of our data, however it appears that if your phone is made for the Chinese market then it's sucking up even more.

      1. Chz

        Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

        Exactly this. The EU ROMs need to follow a certain minimum in terms of data protection. They're still slurping data, but not more than any other Android phone. It's the Chinese (and probably other Asia) market ROMs you don't want to be on. ISTR there was an article a while back about someone in Latvia coming to much the same conclusions about Chinese vs. EU ROMs.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

        >The article is suggesting that the android phones made for the Chinese market are the ones of real concern.

        Yes, I'm hoping the researchers are already repeating their investigation with OnePlus, Xiaomi and Oppo Realme intended for the European market.

        Also deliver a little deeper and determine whether this is just app developers going OTT or the tracking is 'required'...

      3. Sampler

        Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

        Apologies, I did not as the model is only available in China (which I also didn't mention, only the allusion to the 1" sensor would convey it's a 12S Ultra, but you'd have to know handsets for that).

        That means no other Roms outside China sadly - had already looked when first picked it up to make it easier to learn, I work with a kid from Hong Kong so he's been useful in translating bits that aren't so I've got it mostly fine, just as above, would like to curtail any pointless data waste running down the battery and generally taking up unnecessary resource, I guess at worse I could firewall off anything from China.

    4. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

      Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

      Don't buy Chinese stuff. Buy Samsung or Apple.

      I'm pretty sure that the U.S. will totally embargo China in a couple of years and your device will become worthless.

      1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

        Don't buy Chinese stuff. Buy Samsung or Apple.

        With chips made in... (look it up yourself)

        If you can't assure yourself you know everything about the supply chain of every piece of silicon in your device (and it's almost certainly impossible to do so), you can't be sure that none of those contain "undocumented features".

        I don't think that's even especially paranoid when talking about Chinese-made chips, in particular if they are ones that are specifically bound for installation in sensitive places.

        I don't think it only applies to China, either, for that matter.

        Trust, and trustworthiness, are complex subjects.

        1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

          Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

          It doesn't matter what you or the lazy Western manufacturers want. The U.S. has decided it wants to decouple from China and that's exactly what will happen in a few years time. Sooner if China invades Taiwan in the near future.

          Manufacturers will simply have to set up shop somewhere else. Mind you that this could also include Chinese manufacturers setting up shop in other parts of Asia.

        2. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

          It doesn't matter where the chips were made (which hint hint is in Taiwan not mainland China) they can't "slip in undocumented features" in Apple's or Qualcomm's SoCs.

        3. kat_bg

          Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

          Chips made in Taiwan. Neither Apple or Samsung use chinese made chips

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

            But the phones are made in China and china can hide secret undetectable chips on the motherboard that can contact China, former presidential candidate Mr Bloomberg said so.

        4. Nifty Silver badge

          Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

          "With chips made in... (look it up yourself)"

          Good one. How do you downvote and upvote a post at the same time?

          1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

            -- How do you downvote and upvote a post at the same time? --

            I think you need a refresher course in maths/logic. +1 -1 equates to zero so don't even bother upvoting or downvoting just move right along.

      2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

        To add further context to that post which seems to have garnered an angry down-vote from a disc-i-ple...

        Unless Apple have very recently changed their manufacturing chain, iDevices are assembled by Foxconn, who are based in... (checks notes)... amongst other places, China.

        Yes, a lot of silicon is manufactured by TSMC, and, depending on your political affiliation, Taiwan either is or is not part of China / an autonomous Chinese region / separate from China.

        Many western countries are getting increasingly nervous about reliance on TSMC, given the Chinese government's rather antagonistic stance in the region, and are aiming to ramp up domestic chip production, but don't underestimate the scale of that problem if China decide to annex Taiwan.

        1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

          Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

          The U.S. has already forced (yes forced) TSMC to set up shop in mainland U.S., as to keep the silicon flowing if China is actually stupid enough to invade Taiwan. For now the Taiwanese are keeping the smallest nodes to themselves but I'm pretty sure that too will change in a couple of years.

          We simply can't afford to become too reliant on semiconductors from a disputed island nation with which we have no security treaty, do not recognize as an independent state, with which we don't have any diplomatic ties and which could become the center of a military conflict at any moment.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

            >We simply can't afford to become too reliant on semiconductors from a disputed island nation..

            We also simply can't afford to become too reliant on the US, as Trump demonstrated, it only takes one President to disrupt things...

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

              Or too reliant on the Eu or UK.

              We need ar own Yorksha fab to mek proper devices reet ere

              1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

                Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

                As a Hullensian (which means I'm a Yorkshireman) I deplore your accent - sounds more like the red rose mob.

        2. Snowy Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

          You missed an option China is West Taiwan :)

        3. Jacobus

          Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

          the machines that TSMC uses to make the (high-end) chips are made in the Netherlands (exclusively). Intel and TSMC can set up shop (and they are) in other places that are not as risky as Taiwan. It costs money and time, yes, but it will happen. And even if the chinese take over Taiwan, they won't be able to use the machines.

      3. fidodogbreath

        Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

        Buy Samsung or Apple.

        Not to sure about Sammy these days. The S23's massive 60GB Android image is 4x the size of Google's Android, and double the size of a Windows 10 or 11 install. But don't worry, I'm sure all of that third-party bloatware totally respects your privacy.

        1. Orv Silver badge

          Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

          I remember when Samsung devices would eventually fill up their own storage with updates for their built-in apps, which you could not delete.

          1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

            If it's a preinstalled "system" app and not baked into the firmware, you can often use adb to remove it, even when the phone says you can't.

            Of course, adb isn't the easiest thing to do, and requires putting your phone into "developer mode" first, which itself is hidden away somewhere stupid (IIRC, find the system info in settings and tap on the software version ten times, or something like that), and then tethering your phone to a PC (probably works on OSes other than Windows too) and going all command-line-warrior on it.

            This is often useful if your phone is bought through a carrier and they have spewed their crapware all over it. Vodafone used to be a serious culprit of this, I wouldn't know any more, since it's cheaper to buy a phone outright than pay a mortgage on it for 18 or 24 months.

          2. the Jim bloke

            Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

            Like the mites without an anus, their lifespan is determined by how long it takes them to fill with shit.

            Samsung is just making sure the customers have to keep buying new devices.

            Its a commercial decision, based on the attitude that customers are prey to be harvested, rather than assets to be looked after, and most businesses dont even see anything wrong with the idea

    5. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

      If I'm reading the article correctly, I think this only applies to phones with Chinese firmware, in which case, this is almost certainly independent of the phone manufacturer, and enforced by the Chinese government.

      You might have some luck flashing a different firmware onto your phone if it does have the Chinese version installed, but, caveat emptor, other firmware versions might not be compatible with the specific hardware revision of your phone, and I don't know how easy Xiaomi make it to re-flash the firmware (as an ex-HTC user, I know they used to make rooting the phone easy, but it's just a shame their hardware build quality got so lousy in their later phones).

    6. HarryBl

      Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

      The article says that phones with Chinese firmware do this. No mention of phones with the Global firmware installed.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

        I have a Xiaomi Mi 10T. I guess as part of the EU concessions, some of the bundled apps ask if they can pillage my data, to which I say "hell no". Whether or not they do anyway, I cannot say, but it's rather amusing how many Xiaomi apps ask first [1], and how many Google apps ask first [2].

        1 - pretty much all of them

        2 - exactly none of them

    7. JohnG

      Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

      "Any way to stop this (without the purchase of another handset..."

      For some makes and models, alternative firmware images are available, built on open source versions of Android. These carry the risk of bricking your phone if you get it wrong and installing such firmware will likely invalidate any warranty. The forums at xda-developers.com are a good place to learn what is available/happening for any particular phone.

  2. martinusher Silver badge

    Seems to be the modern thing to do

    I watched a video recently which contrasted the domains accessed by a brand new Windows 11 laptop and a fresh Windows XP install just ater restart. The video is titled "Has Windows Become Spyware?" and is at https://youtu.be/IT4vDfA_4NI .

    The answer is a resounding 'yes'. WinXP just contacts Microsoft's update site. Win11 goes off on a lengthy conversation with too many tracking sites to conveniently list.

    I'm not excusing Chinese phones. They're all at it and its time we collectively put our foot down and told them to knock it off. Companies might feel they need the revenue but I think their entire brokered information / advertising model is broken but nobody dare say so because it would cause a huge part of the 'technology' industry to implode. I also object to this sort of invasiveness because its written so crudely that its all just busy/wait loops waiting on sockets -- the very worst type of code imaginable -- which has fed the need for multi-core processors, a Death Spiral of lousy programming practice consuming ever more computing (and network) resources that we've somehow convinced ourselves is leading edge software.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems to be the modern thing to do

      I had a OnePlus One but after a few years it ran very badly, the battery wouldn't last a full day which some people would consider normal because they're never not using it but this was when the phone was just idling. Long story short I found that hidden background processes were trying to contact defunct servers from companies that no longer exist. There was no way to remove these without root and even with root was likely to be a long project. Instead I replaced CyanogenMod OS with Lineage OS and the phone's idle time went up to eight days! I don't think CyanogenMod was to blame, rather OnePlus/OPPO had subsidised production with a few too many advertising apps. It was, after all, a really great phone at a really generous price.

      Since all manufacturers/network operators are probably at it then flashing a new OS should be your first step. Of course that means knowing which OS to trust which is just moving the goalposts for advertisers/spies. Also it would be nice to have the same level of control for all smart devices but IoT is much more locked in.

    2. heyrick Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Seems to be the modern thing to do

      I think people are worried about China because it's "the government" doing the spying, whereas in the west it's "just Corporate America", as if that's really somehow better.

      Now shops are swapping loyalty cards for apps. Apps that want to know your location, run at startup, access device logs, phone identity, blah blah blah. They're being pushed quite hard these days, but you can't argue with the checkout girl as she's just following instructions from above and has no idea what app permissions are, never mind why I would be annoyed at the idea of granting all this access to some shitware cobbled together by a third party to offer me...uh...nothing I can't find on the place's regular website.

      Problem is, everybody is so used to this, if you say "over my dead body am I going allow you to report my activity every time I touch my phone", I'm the weird one.

      FFS.

      1. Orv Silver badge

        Re: Seems to be the modern thing to do

        I kind of figure the NSA has a backup copy of everything "corporate America" has.

        1. heyrick Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Shhhhh!

          <whisper> see icon </whisper>

        2. moonhaus

          Re: Seems to be the modern thing to do

          "I kind of figure the NSA has a backup copy of everything "corporate America" has."

          They had a direct API to query it in real time a decade ago, according to the documents released by Snowdon.

        3. Barrie Shepherd

          Re: Seems to be the modern thing to do

          NSA will also have a copy of most things GCHQ have just in case UK Courts tell GCHQ to delete some illegally gathered data - and vice versa.

          Then of course ASIO down under has a back up copy of the lot hidden in the depths of Pine Gap.

          They are all at it and they all give the finger to any oversight should a Court dare to intervene.

  3. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    Netguard???

    I have Netguard installed on my mobile. I wonder if that would be able to block the spyware, or if they would just bypass it.

    The other option - E's are good!

    Or try landing a Sailfish!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Netguard???

      Sailfish unfortunately does not yet allow the kind of per-permission always/while in foreground/just this time/never options for apps that the newest versions of Android do (Google's own apps being extra special when it comes to certain permissions aside).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Netguard???

      I'm using NetGuard to block the vast majority of the tracking being done by some apps. (AFTER paying for no ads in the app and telling them to stop 3rd-party traffic, I still have to block some 3rd-party traffic.) It's a good program.

      I share the question with KittenHuffer, though; can I use NetGuard to block OS-level spyware? And given that my phone is a OnePlus purchased in the US, is there OnePlus tracking going on?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Netguard???

      Don't have that option.

  4. Boolian

    Blaw yer ain trumpet

    Unless the Chinese are passing this to my (or other) Western governments, or three letter agencies, should I be remotely bothered? Passing info to 3rd party spam/ phishers yes, though that is not the sole preserve of the Chinese.

    As custodian of my contact's info, perhaps it's too laissez faire an attitude - for personal IP, I doubt it makes a jot of difference.

    If hypothetically, Western governments were spying, and balls deep in a vat of Chinese data ladling it up with abandon, then I might be slightly concerned - but since they aren't, and it's only the Chinese who do that sort of thing to us - why worry indeed.

    Local 'covert human intelligence sources', RIPA 2000 & IPA 2016 on the other hand...

    All sarcasm of course, because all phones leak your data. To paraphrase the old Scottish Trumpet Tree joke:

    "I rooted it oot"

    1. nintendoeats

      Re: Blaw yer ain trumpet

      If the Chinese were to take over Canada in 20/30/40 years, I am quite likely to be rounded up and killed/interred/whatever (I'm not that interesting, but I'd definitely be "interesting enough" for a dictatorship). So yeah, I care. And then there is the question of what happens if another nation or company gains access to the data collected by China? The only way to ensure that private information is not used against you is for it not to be recorded to begin with.

      I'd also observe that we have seen leaky devices used to track Russian troop movements in Ukraine, which may be nice for now but could also be used against us. Essentially, the moment China and the west start a hot war, any phone sending data back to Beijing will need to be disconnected from the network immediately because it would give them way to much info about movement patterns (and probably other stuff as well). If I ran a western nation, I'd be pissing myself about the pervasiveness of this equipment.

      I hope that none of these things ever happen of course, but the upside of betting hard against them seems very low against the potential downside.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Blaw yer ain trumpet

        "The only way to ensure that private information is not used against you is for it not to be recorded to begin with."

        This.

        That one might think they're unimportant or not worth bothering about is missing the point.

        Would you be happy to put a live running commentary of your movements on Twitter? Because your phone is quite likely doing so, only in a place you can't see. And you can't see because you'd probably be horrified about what sort of detail is being collected. Did you just quickly write a text when doing 36 in a 30 zone?

        Oh, and just because you're nobody now doesn't mean you'll still be at some random point in the future. People have derailed careers because of some random offensive rubbish they wrote back when they were teenagers. Those digital wankstains? They stick around. Whether intentional (social media) or unintentional (app/phone tracking). Once it's out of your hands, it's out of your control. Just better hope it doesn't ever come back to haunt you.

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Blaw yer ain trumpet

      Well, they (the US government) did say they were going to use social media information to 'track down terrorists' post 2001. You'd be very naive to think otherwise.

      There's a fine print thing in the US, though. If the government indulged directly in collecting (and collating) information then they'd run into a legal minefield. There's all sorts of laws that prevent them from doing so. However, if they buy the information from a corporate provider then that's perfectly OK. So its a win -- they get anything they want, the corporations make money. Perfect symbiosis.

      1. Barrie Shepherd

        Re: Blaw yer ain trumpet

        "However, if they buy the information from a corporate provider then that's perfectly OK."

        They don't have to do that - GCHQ and ASIO collects it for them and NSA do a similar thing for the UK and Australia. Been going on for years.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And Western Governments

    look on with envy.

  6. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Chatty

    The article seems to imply that this isn't the case with European and American versions of their smartphones, which I doubt. Maybe the devices they sell over here are just as "chatty".

    1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Chatty

      Probably in different ways, and in ways on which the domestic press are not allowed to report.

    2. Barrie Shepherd

      Re: Chatty

      The data just goes to the appropriate 3 letter Agency of the appropriate country.

  7. quadibloc2

    Unsurprising

    This is hardly surprising, given that China is a totalitarian dictatorship. Google should review its license terms for Android to ensure it is in no way complicit in surveillance used for political repression. Of course, since some portions of Android are open-source, perhaps ARM needs to be brought on board as well.

  8. Big_Boomer Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Big Brother,...

    It doesn't really matter where you are or what phone you have. You are paying for Big Brother to be in your hand, in your house, at your workplace. The suppliers, the media, and the government keep on topping up your level of "fear" so that they can keep on spying on you. Yes, I am just as bad as the rest of you but I simply don't give a sh!t about my "privacy". If they want to spy on me I can't stop them so I simply don't do anything that they would find interesting. It's when they start using that "security" for repression and for political/financial gain that the problems start, and unfortunately that is 100% inevitable.

    1. nintendoeats

      Re: Big Brother,...

      So you are saying: you don't care that they spy on you, because you don't do anything that would upset them (because they spy on you), and you acknowledge that they are corrupt and will use this information to repress people who act out against the corruption. Is that about right?

  9. thx135

    Just don´t buy products made in China. It isn't so difficult.

    USA never cease of surprise me. Buying products from a country that want to destroy yours.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      What's not, at least in part, made in China?

      Remember: Proudly assembled in Belgium / Wisconsin (as per your ocean side) might indeed be assembled by happy employees in a friendly company in Belgium / Wisconsin . . . . using Chinese components.

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Oneplus were pretty good about releasing the source for their Android builds and also allowing bootloader unlocking so their older handsets usually get good 3rd party ROM supports such as Lineage. Im using a Oneplus 6 with Lineage as my daily driver and its just been updated to Android 13.

    So if i were a Chinese phone user Id look at ditching the stock Android and flashing Lineage or another ROM, assuming they can do that on the Chinese region phones?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boffins?? What a weird word.

    Had to look this word up. It felt so slang... Apparently it means egghead or nerd. Now it feels derogatory.

    I am obviously not getting the nuance of the word because, based on the definition I turned up, boffin (egghead, nerd... geek?) doesn't seem to fit the rest of the article.

    1. IainT

      Re: Boffins?? What a weird word.

      It's a British peculiarity, and is high praise. I've had two university professors complain because we didn't describe them as boffins in our articles. This has become something of a Register thing over the last 20+ years.

      Opinion is divided but suspect it's derived from WWII as an abbreviation for the "boys in the backroom" who worked on new military technology, even though Amazing Grace and others showed it wasn't all a boys thing. At The Reg use it for any passionate scientist and, personally, because it's a really fun word.

    2. nintendoeats

      Re: Boffins?? What a weird word.

      I would be happy to be described as a boffin.

    3. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Boffins?? What a weird word.

      It is equivalent in meaning to egghead, nerd, and geek, but those terms are often used disparagingly.

      Boffin is praise. Boffin is, well, Stephen Hawking was the überboffin.

  12. Barrie Shepherd

    I remember when I only had a choice of basically three mobile phone manufacturers. One from Finland, one from America and one from Germany. It was so long ago that spyware etc. was not even a concern !

    How the world has 'advanced'.

  13. SnOOpy168

    Just extracted all the URLs from the paper

    http://iptc.org/std/Iptc4xmpCore/1.0/xmlns/

    http://prismstandard.org/namespaces/basic/2.1/

    http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/

    http://www.aiim.org/pdfa/ns/extension/

    http://www.aiim.org/pdfa/ns/field#

    http://www.aiim.org/pdfa/ns/id/

    http://www.aiim.org/pdfa/ns/property#

    http://www.aiim.org/pdfa/ns/schema#

    http://www.aiim.org/pdfa/ns/type#

    http://www.aiim.org/pdfua/ns/id/

    http://www.npes.org/pdfx/ns/id/

    http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#

    https://a.fxltsbl.com/accept/sdkService)

    https://doi.org/10.1145/nnnnnnn.nnnnnnn)

    https://frida.re/)

    https://matplotlib.org)

    https://miloserdov.org/?p=746)

    https://mitmproxy.org/)

    https://tracking.miui.com/track/v4)

    worthy of a block ?

    and found that the author has an additional paper on this topic too

    https://github.com/Mobile-Intelligence-Lab/android_CN_trafficdata/blob/main/Wisec23_additional_material.pdf

  14. ape
    Alert

    Hmmmmm .. .. .. .. .. ..

    I am sure my computer does similar; a Microsoft product.

  15. hairydog

    How many readers of the Reg actually buy their phones in China?

    This article would be more informative if the same research was also done on what is snooping on the same models of phones bought in the EU or the UK.

  16. SidSlippers

    Glory be.

    Blow me down with a feather.

  17. Markcrystal2003

    In US and Israel they just force you hand over smartphone

    In US and Israel they just force you hand over smartphone To them at any border or by any police so they can then just search it

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