According to reports, Realme has started rolling out a new software update for its select models, doing so to disable a controversial feature which, users alleged, was collecting personal data from their Realme devices without their knowledge or consent.
What is Realme doing?
The Chinese consumer electronic giant’s recently-launched 11 Pro and 11 Pro+ smartphones have already received the software update to automatically deactivate the ‘Enhanced Intelligent Services’ feature, days after it was flagged off by a Twitter user, prompting intervention from Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State (MoS) for Electronics and Technology.
After the update, the description for Enhanced Intelligence Services, too, has changed, as per the reports.
“Enhanced Intelligent Services is set to off by default, users can choose to disable or enable,” the description of the service now reads. Previously, the description mentioned the collection of app usage statistics, calendar events, and statistics on unread messages and calls.
Why is Realme doing this?
On June 16, Twitter user Rishi Bagree uploaded a screenshot of the feature, which, he said, was ‘on’ by default, and capturing the user’s data (call logs, SMS, and location information).
“You can only see this “on” by default feature when you go to Settings -> Additional Settings -> System Services -> Enhanced Intelligent Services.
Indian users are kept in dark to share their data without their consent. This is basically forced consent, since it’s on by default.
Is this data being sent to China,” he asked. It was this tweet that caught the minister’s attention.
What was Realme’s response?
“We place great emphasis on user privacy protection, the Enhanced Intelligent Services feature can be manually turned on or off basis the needs of the consumers. The company complies with the local laws and regulations,” it said in an official statement.