Even though Chinese electronic items have penetrated into the Indian markets, there always remains a threat of spying on users which also led to India banning several apps last year. One such latest report on Chinese television maker Skyworth has brought the focus on cheaper electronic products from China.
What are the latest revelations about the Shenzhen-based TV and set-top box maker?
A network traffic analysis revealed that a Skyworth smart TV scanned for other devices connected to the same local network every 10 minutes and gathered data consisting of device names, IP addresses, network latency and even the names of other Wi-Fi networks within range.
This information has been posted by a user on the Chinese developer forum V2EX, as per the report in the South China Morning Post. Skyworth TVs uses an app called Gozen Service, and this particular app is responsible for sharing data about all other connected gadgets on the Wi-Fi network that the TV is connected with. Following the accusation, the company issued a statement on April 27, informing it had ended its “cooperation” with Gozen and asked the firm to delete all its “illegally” collected data, as per the report.
Beijing-based data analysis platform for OTT services company called Gozen Data has developed this service app. Skyworth is promising that the app has since been disabled. Skyworth emerged as the third biggest TV brand by sales volume in 2020, behind Xiaomi and Hisense.
What did Skyworth claim?
After the incident came to light, the Chinese television maker issued an apology where a consumer found that his set was quietly collecting a wide range of private data and sending it to a Beijing-based analytics company without his consent.
Skyworth also assured that it had stopped using the Gozen app on its televisions and was looking into the issue. According to the report, Gozen also issued a statement saying it’s Gozen Data Android app could be disabled on Skyworth TVs. However, it did not address whether the users would be aware of this functionality. The company also apologized for “causing user concerns about privacy and security”.
The incident came to the fore after China cracked a whip on electronic companies over the rampant collection and use of user data. It has recently introduced new regulations for protecting personal data and curbing its collection through mobile apps.
Should Indian users be alarmed?
Skyworth is available under the Metz branding in India after the company acquired the German TV maker. However, it is still not clear if Metz TVs are impacted by the same issue. The company assured of stringent reviews on the conduct of their partners and service providers to ensure user privacy and data is protected. In 2020, independent security researchers intimated about TCL TVs running the Android TV platform for security holes that would have allowed anyone snooping in to access the device’s entire filesystem and overwrite it if they wished to.