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22 Mar 2019

Nokia phones caught sending sensitive customer information to China

Some Nokia phones sent customer data to China

HMD Global, the company that owns the Nokia brand, has been accused of sending sensitive customer information from its devices to China.

The claim has been made by Norway's public broadcaster NRK on the basis of its own analysis and a report from a Nokia 7 Plus owner.

HMD later acknowledged the 'error' but said the issue has been resolved.

Here's all about it.

In context

Some Nokia phones sent customer data to China
Data sent to Chinese servers

Issue

Data sent to Chinese servers

Since acquiring rights from Microsoft in 2016, HMD Global has been making Nokia phones.

The devices have done well, but just recently, NRK reported the case of a Nokia 7 Plus user who said his device was sending information to a specific third-party.

The user claimed his phone sent information like location, SIM card number, phone serial number to an unknown server without permission.

Later, NRK verified the information was going to China

Following the report, NRK carried out an investigation, only to learn that the server in question was located in China, where Foxconn assembles Nokia phones.

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Investigation

Now, Finland's data protection watchdog has launched an investigation

In the wake of these claims, Finland's official data protection watchdog has launched a probe into the company.

Reijo Aarnio, an official from the organization, told Reuters they're looking to assess if the breaches compromised any kind of "personal information and if there has been a legal justification for this."

HMD, on the other hand, denied the case of a personal information leak.

What Nokia says on the matter

Nokia's stance

What Nokia says on the matter

Nokia acknowledged the issue to NRK, noting that the problem had occurred on "an unspecified number of Nokia 7 Plus phones."

Speaking to Reuters, a spokesperson for the complain said "an error in [the] software packaging process in a single batch of one device model" caused the issue, but reaffirmed that "no personally identifiable information has been shared with any third party."

Apparently, the data went to Chinese telecom giant

Nokia claimed "the data was never processed and no person could have been identified" but refrained from providing details about the recipient server. However, NRK's own findings indicated the server was under the domain "vnet.cn," which is said to be managed by China Telecom.

Problems

The issue has been fixed, but Nokia could face fines

Nokia emphasized that affected Nokia 7 Plus models have been fixed with a software patch issued in February.

The company said nearly all phones have installed the fix, but considering the GDPR laws which went into force last year, it could face fines for sharing data without consent.

It will all depend on what comes out as a result of this probe.

Ask NewsBytes
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Most asked questions

Is this issue present on other phones too?

How much fines will be imposed on HMD Global.

When this probe will end?

Will Nokia 9 launch in India?

More questions

Is this issue present on other phones too?

Asked 2019-03-22 14:24:45 by Navya Singhal

Answered by NewsBytes

No, Nokia claimed the problem was only present on certain Nokia 7 Plus models.

How much fines will be imposed on HMD Global.

Asked 2019-03-22 14:24:45 by Vivaan Malhotra

Answered by NewsBytes

As of now, it is not clear if a fine will be imposed on Nokia.

When this probe will end?

Asked 2019-03-22 14:24:45 by Ananya Shah

Answered by NewsBytes

The probe is underway but it is not clear when it might end.

Will Nokia 9 launch in India?

Asked 2019-03-22 14:24:45 by Parakram Dasgupta

Answered by NewsBytes

The penta-camera Nokia 9 PureView has been announced but it still remains unclear if it will hit the Indian market or not.

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