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Cherry Mobile Doesn’t Send Customer Data To Chinese Servers [Updated With Statement From Starmobile]

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A few days ago the New York Times published a report asserting that certain budget smartphones in the US were sending user’s personal data secretly to a third-party company in China. The firm Kryptowire found that pre-installed software in budget Android phones were responsible for sending call logs, contacts, app usage data and even GPS location logs to third-party Chinese servers.

Obviously this is a privacy nightmare, and while the issue was found on US phones, many people are worried that phones sold to other regions may also be affected by the issue.

We’ve reached out to Cherry Mobile, the largest local brand to date about the issue, and according to Lonson Alejandrino, Product Manager of Cherry Mobile, none of their phones take any private and sensitive personal information to any third party sources.

Here’s their full statement:

Cherry Mobile endeavors to deliver the best possible user experience to its users. With this in mind, in each device is an application called wireless update. As the name implies, the application is used only for pushing updates to the device for bug fixes, latest features or to deliver an operating system (OS) upgrade. We value the privacy of our customers, therefore the devices do not pull vital information from the users.

Local brand Starmobile has also given a statement about this issue:

“We assure our customers that Starmobile devices do not send personal and/or confidential data to anyone without their knowledge or consent. Pre-installed applications in our phones and tablets only serve to enhance device performance and user experience.”

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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6 Comments

  1. Sinabay lang ng mga amerikano ang news na yan sa pagpasok ng zte, huawei at one plus sa amerika. Disappointing kasi ang sales ng iphone 7 natatakot sila na matabunan na ang apple ng murang chinese phones kaya konting conspiracy issues ang kinakalat nila.

  2. sa pag rooted ang device from Cherry mobile and you try to view vendor folder there are chinese apps and tools there and a certain chinese telecom name all apps are chinese but i dont know if its safe to remove, its separated from the system apps i hope those apps and telecom name doesnt mean anything harmful and its safe to remove.

  3. Already emailed the National Privacy Commission (infoATprivacy.gov.ph) and they said they will look into this.

    I have used Cherry Mobile branded phones. On my Flare S4 Lite, there is software named “com.adups.fota” and “com.adups.fota.sysoper”. Wireless updates (OTA) can be performed using com.adups.fota.

    Shanghai Adups Technology Company, the company cited in the NYT report, is the probable source of this software, the Android package naming convention clearly indicating Adups.

    Local companies must work with the National Privacy Commission and ensure that this is not the case. My phone shows a toast message “SMS sent” after a factory reset, who knows what that SMS contained.

  4. “We assure our customers that Starmobile devices do not send personal and/or confidential data to anyone without their knowledge or consent. Pre-installed applications in our phones and tablets only serve to enhance device performance and user experience.”

    ganun daw? eh bakit pa kailangan gayahin yung icon ng default applications gaya ng “Phone”. para aksidenteng maopen? Iba na experience ko sa SM Engage 7+, bigla syang nagdidisplay ng fullscreen ads kahit wala pa akong App na nakabukas. Kaya nung nakita ko ulit yung App na yun sa CM Revel 3g ko, di na yata natural yun.

  5. Problem is I don’t think the local distributor even knows if it is sending data to an outside server. Sure, the built-in or added apps (like the Wireless update that CM mentioned) don’t, but what about system apps (or modified system apps or apps that are not listed with icons but baked into ROM (thus, unremovable) and with names that not even a techie knows about?

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