Nokia phones caught mysteriously sending data to Chinese servers

Joanna Estrada
March 22, 2019

Finland's data ombudsman Reijo Aarnio told news service STT that preliminary information he has seen indicates that Nokia phones had actually sent users' personal information to Chinese servers.

Aarnio told news service Reuters that he plans to determine whether alleged breaches occurred that involved "personal information and if there was legal justification for it".

While Nokia exited the mobile phone business to focus exclusively on networking, the Finnish firm's brand name lives on thanks to HMD Global which licensed it to produce a new range of Nokia devices running Android.

The data collection was exposed today in an investigation published by Norwegian broadcaster NRK, which learned of it from a user's tip.

HMD Global - the maker of the Nokia 7 plus was contacted and has owned up to the issue at hand, saying the issue affected only a "single batch" of phones.

According to NRK, Nokia had admitted that "an unspecified number of Nokia 7 Plus phones had sent data to the Chinese server", without disclosing who owned the server.

USA accusations that Chinese telecom giant Huawei posed an espionage risk has heightened Western government security concerns.

Norway NRK reports that a good number of Nokia 7 PLUS phones in the past weeks gathered and sent info like user's location, phone number, and the device's serial number to a server located into China, raising suspicion that HMD global might be guilty of the current accusation Huawei is facing in the USA. HMD says that none of the data was processed, but it was still sent to the servers.

"We can confirm that no personally identifiable information has been shared with any third party", HMD told Reuters. HMD, set up by former Nokia executives, took over the Nokia feature phone business from Microsoft in 2016 and struck a deal with Nokia Oyj to use the brand on smartphones.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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