Sony responds to Baidu spygate storm; reassures no data shared

by XB on 1st November 2014

in Applications, Problems

SpyEarlier this week, we reported on an issue present in a number of stock Sony Xperia firmware builds that involved a mysterious “Baidu” folder appearing on phones. This folder couldn’t be deleted and what made it worse was that it was making regular pings to Chinese servers. The folder itself was created by the myXperia location application, but it was unclear what was being transmitted.

Well Sony has now responded to the ‘spygate’ claims and reassured that its users have nothing to worry about. They confirm that Sony Xperia phones do not transmit any user data to Baidu. The activity simply relates to Baidu Push Notifications, a common standard in China.

The myXperia application initialises both the Google Cloud Messaging and Baidu Push Notification framework when first activated. The current version of the app uses both systems regardless of where the user is located. However, Sony has promised an update to myXperia is on the way that will only include the Baidu Push Notification framework in Mainland China Xperia variants. Hopefully, this reassures Sony Xperia customers that nothing sinister is underhand.

Rickard – Sony Xperia Support

“I’ve had some further feedback from the guys in our development team. I can confirm that Xperia phones don’t store any user data for transmission to Baidu. The MyXperia app supports both Google Cloud Messaging service and the Baidu Push Notification framework, as do many third party apps, to make sure we can support our China customers as well as those in the rest of the world. Both get automatically initialised when you first activate MyXperia. The IP activity you are seeing is just linked to Baidu’s push notification system, which is an expected behaviour for this application.”

Future updates of MyXperia will be optimised so the Baidu Push Notification framework is only initialized in Mainland China variants of Xperia devices. But as these services are common standards in the industry, other 3rd party applications may also include Baidu Push Notifications or other Baidu services, resulting in the Baidu folder being shared between such applications. Sony Mobile fully reassures all its customers that MyXperia uses a push notification system and does not store any user data for transmission to Baidu.”

Magnus Hilding – Lead Developer of MyXperia at Sony Mobile

“We built the app using both protocols to ensure both our Chinese and global users could enjoy MyXperia. However, we’ve designed later versions to package the service relevant to a specific region only – these updates are right around the corner, rolling out soon.”

Via Sony Mobile Talk.

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