OnePlus limits the data it collects from your phone

Many OnePlus owners were more than a little upset when they found out that the company is collecting gobs of user data from its phones without asking, including personally identifiable info. It's no surprise, then, that OnePlus is taking quick steps to avert (or at least, minimize) a backlash. Carl Pei has told customers that his firm will both limit the data it collects from OxygenOS phones and make it clear what you're sending OnePlus' way. Devices will stop sending phone numbers, WiFi info and network MAC addresses. And by the end of October, every OxygenOS device will have a prompt that asks you if you want to join the user experience program, with a setup process and terms of service that explain just what you're sharing.

Pei stressed that OnePlus isn't sharing the data third parties. The user analytics are to understand and improve your experience, he said, while device info is useful for post-sales support. And if you opt out of the analytics (which you could already do), anything you share in that space won't be linked to your phone-specific data. However, it remains true that OnePlus was scooping up personal info without making it patently clear what was taking place. While the company didn't intend anything sinister, there was the chance that a data breach could do tremendous damage without customers even knowing what was at stake.

OnePlus announces it will allow users to opt out of data collection program

OnePlus recently found itself embroiled in a bit of controversy when the extent of its data-collection efforts was revealed. In short, it was discovered that Oxygen OS, the Android-based OS that powers OnePlus phones such as the OnePlus 5, has a built-in data collection service that users are automatically enrolled in. The goal of the program was similar to others of its type, which was to allow OnePlus to collect data from a large number of users in order to address issues with the phones. However, it was also reported that the company was collecting personal information such as telephone numbers, Wi-Fi information, and other sensitive data.

OnePlus responded to these reports by ensuring users that the data was kept secure and private and insisted that it was only collected in order to aid in customer service. On Friday, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei took to the company’s official forums in order to reassure the company’s userbase that their privacy was valued and their personal data was not being shared with any third parties.

The post also added that the company would take steps to ensure that users would be made aware of the data-collection program and would be prompted to opt out during setup. The option is already available on the Oxygen OS, but it is buried in the settings menu, so users may not be aware of it. However, that will change later this month. Pei said that by the end of October, an update would be rolled out which would ask users, during set-up, if they would like to opt into the user experience data collection program or not.

Pei’s post only seems to address the collection of analytical. Obviously, this is important, but some users questioned why OnePlus needed Wi-Fi information or phone numbers in order to help with customer service. Obviously, concerns that data such as phone numbers might be sold to third parties such as telemarketers was a prime concern for some users, and its one that OnePlus hasn’t directly addressed. It is unclear whether or not opting out of the user experience program will also prevent OnePlus from collecting personal data such as telephone numbers.