In the latest turn of events, reports have cropped up revealing that your Realme smartphone may have been quietly collecting your sensitive data without your knowledge. Realme UI 4.0, the Android 13-based skin, has been explicitly called out, raising serious privacy and security concerns. To find out how Realme phones might be collecting your personal data, read on.
Realme Accused of Non-consensual User Data Collection
The existence of such a feature was first spotted by the popular Indian technology YouTube channel Trackin Tech in their Realme 11 Pro+ video. According to their finding, Realme Ui 4.0 ships with a system setting called “Enhanced Intelligent Services,” which is toggled on by default on your Realme smartphone.
We confirmed the same on our end at the Beebom office and found this to be true. Moreover, Anmol from our team found the same setting on his OnePlus 9RT running OxygenOS 13 as well. If you take a close look at the image below, the description for Enhanced Intelligent Services reads, “Enhanced Intelligent Services needs to collect statistics about your unread messages and missed calls, calendar events, and device usage statistics, and obtain the following permissions: connect to the internet and read your calendar events, call logs and SMS messages.”
In short, realme is capturing every bit of your intimate personal data that you wouldn’t otherwise share with anyone, let alone your smartphone manufacturer. And on top of that, this is embedded deep within your smartphone settings. This means unless you are tech-savvy, there is no way you will be able to sniff this out.
This issue has since caught the attention of the Union Minister of State for Entrepreneurship, Skill Development, Electronics & Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar. He has assured via an official tweet that the Government of India along with MeitY (Ministry of Electronics & IT) will probe into this.
Since the day it was announced, Realme UI 4.0 was not well received. With the number of bloatware, ads, bugs, and embedded explicit content, it has been disliked by most users, to say the least. Although Realme has cleared up its mess partly, such a major issue of user privacy and security cannot go unnoticed.
How to Turn Off Enhanced Intelligent Services on Realme, OnePlus & Oppo Phones Right Now
1. Open Settings and navigate to “System Services” via Additional Settings.
2. You will notice the “Enhanced Intelligent Services” option toggled on by default. Just switch it off and stop sharing your personal data with the Chinese phone maker.
With this latest development, it is important for us to take a hard look at the devices we use daily. Our digital data and assets are beyond important and no one (except us) should have access to them. At least not without our consent. We can’t live without technology in 2023. We know that, and tech manufacturers know that. However, this does not give them the right to exploit us the way they wish. At the very least, we can make wise choices in what we let into our lives.