Nokia phones sending personal data to China, Finland to investigate: Report

By Digit NewsDesk | Updated 22 Mar 2019
Nokia phones sending personal data to China, Finland to investigate: Report
  • A Nokia 7 user reportedly found his phone sending his personal data to a Chinese server owned by China Telecom.

Highlights:

  • A Nokia 7 user recently reported that the phone was sending personal information to a Chinese server.
  • Finland data protection ombudsman promised to investigate the claims.
  • Nokia said a batch of Nokia 7 phones had an 'error' that led to the data being shared. The fix was issued in a January 2019 update.

Finland’s data protection authority has said it will investigate after claims that HMD Global’s Nokia smartphones have been secretly sending data to Chinese servers. The probe follows a report by Norwegian public broadcaster NRK that claims Nokia phones have been sending sensitive personal data to China after a Nokia user tipped the publication off. The report claims that Henrik Austad found that his Nokia 7 has been sending unencrypted data to a Chinese server when the phone was switched on. The data reportedly included the user’s location, SIM card number and the phone’s serial number.

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The report claims the server was under the domain “vnet.cn”, and is reportedly managed by state-owned telecom company China Telecom. HMD Global admitted that a batch of Nokia 7 devices had an error that led them to send data to China. The company claimed the “error” was fixed in the January software update pushed out to the phone. HMD Global also said its phones don’t send personal info that could identify the users to any server.

The Nokia 7 was released exclusively in China in October 2017. Finland data protection ombudsman Rejio Aarnio told Reuters that he would look into the matter to see if there were any breaches involving “personal information and if there has been a legal justification for this.”

Europe has strict data privacy laws that got even Google entangled. The EU hit Google with a 50 million euros fine for violating Europe’s GDPR standards. Aarnio told NRK that he would investigate HMD Global for GDPR violation.

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