Apple and Xiaomi are among the 12 smartphone vendors accused of violating Taiwan’s privacy laws. They have been accused of collecting data about their users and sharing it with their companies’ servers. All these 12 makers could face heavy fines or even face a total ban if they do not address these security breaches immediately.
The government of Taiwan had started reviewing the privacy standards of smartphone makers after a local legislator Chiu Chih-Wei had raised doubts about the Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi sending user data to its China based servers without obtaining users’ permission.
Following the accusations, the Chinese manufacturer had apologized for the privacy breach and made changes to its software. Apple too had acted in a similar fashion. Inspite of that, smartphones by both these makers are sold openly in the Taiwanese market.
The preliminary findings of the investigation were tabled by the Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) on Thursday The NCC has identified 12 phone models which do not conform to the local laws, said Yu Hsiao-Cheng, vice chairman of the NCC. “Almost every one of them will register with their company’s server,” he added, without elaborating on the specific issues.
Though Apple and Xiaomi were named explicitly, the names of other vendors who are being probed have not yet been revealed. Others contained “imperfections” which do not conform to the law, Yu said, without elaborating. The findings of the NCC will be released soon, he assured.
After the findings of the investigation were presented to the legislative assembly, Chiu asked why Taiwan’s local mobile carriers were still selling Xiaomi phones, given the alleged privacy risks. “Because there are no restrictions, the government could end up using Xiaomi phones,” he said.
IDC says that Samsung and HTC have also been named in the list, though that has not yet been confirmed by the official sources. Yu also assured that the government was considering asking the smartphone manufacturers to modify their handsets. The ones who refuse to comply with the directives could face fines of upto T$200 million ($6.43 million) or run the risk of having their devices banned in Taiwan.