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Xiaomi to store user data in servers outside China, following the accusations


Xiaomi has started to move out services and international user data to servers outside China to address security concerns. The Chinese smartphone maker has been under accused by Taiwan and Indian Air Force (IAF) of being a threat to national security.xiaomi-china

Some of the user data were migrated to Amazon’s available servers in Singapore and US for providing messaging and e-commerce services for international users and in compliance with Chinese regulations. Hugo Barra, global vice president and former Google executive made the announcement on his Google+ page. The user data will also be moved to data centers of local providers and the migration will take place in three phases.

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“As a global internet company, we really care about speed and we’re also fully committed to storing our users’ data securely at all times,” said Barra.

The company has also started to shift MIUI services like Mi accounts, cloud messaging and Mi Cloud services from Beijing to servers in Oregon and Singapore. The move is expected to be completed by 2014-end and will cut network latency in India by 350ms and users in Malaysia will experience 2-3x times faster Mi cloud sync.

Xiaomi future plans include opening centralized data centers in India and Brazil by 2015 in small servers due to a lack of AWS availability. Barra added that the primary goal of the company was to improve performance of the services, cut down latency and failure. The company has grown to the fifth largest smartphone maker in the world and has not yet entered US and European markets.

After security concerns in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Barra had explained the data sent to Beijing was necessary for Mi’s cloud services and also included a service opt-in feature through an update. The company’s move is aimed at gaining the trust of users after reports emerged that the servers in China were accessed and managed by the Chinese Information Ministry.

The IAF issued the warning after receiving information from the Indian Computer Response Team and also stated that Xiaomi phone were sending data to servers in China. Recently, the Indian Army also issued alerts for usage of Chinese based applications that might be used for tracking and monitoring people working in defense, government, research and others.

However, it has not been confirmed if the reports were on the basis of internal testing or were sourced from third-party reports. According to the New Indian Express, the IAF warning note stated that F-secure, a security solutions company had tested Redmi 1s, the company’s budget smartphone, which revealed that IMEI number, phone number, text messages and contacts lists were sent to a server in China.

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