User spots OnePlus 3T sending their clipboard data to servers in China

User spots OnePlus 3T sending their clipboard data to servers in China
OnePlus gets in hot water every now and again over privacy concerns, and now, there's another little controversy brewing. A keen OnePlus 3T user who happened to be monitoring the traffic that goes in and out of their network noticed something weird when they updated to the latest beta build for their device. Apparently, the handset was sending clipboard information directly to AliBaba Group servers.

So, basically, anything you hit "copy" on — web addresses, contacts, photos, etc. — can be sent over to AliBaba, which is one of the biggest e-commerce sites to come out of China.

OnePlus has since commented that this was supposed to only happen on the Chinese build of its operating system — HydrogenOS — and not be live on the global edition, which is OxygenOS. The company assures us that the OxygenOS beta will be promptly updated to remove the clipboard "feature". OnePlus continued to explain that the data does not get saved on any server and that such practices are common on devices sold in China.

Related phones

3T
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 16 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, Quad-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3400 mAh

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18 Comments

1. samgsam

Posts: 149; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

So they will remove a feature just because they have to stop sending the data to Chinese servers? Can't they just stop sending the data and also keep the clipboard feature? I'm a 3T user and i think my next phone should be a Samsung device.

3. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Yeah, I have one too. I'm going with a Sony again this time around. That XA2 is looking mighty tempting... It may bode well for the future of the Compact series.

15. samgsam

Posts: 149; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

Yes, Sony's lineup for this year is great. I have used Xperia Z1 for about two years but its camera sucked for a 21MP shooter. Even now Sony has not been able to do wonders in camera department. I'm thinking of buying Galaxy A8+ though. I will wait for the reviews and if everything works out well then I'm gonna sell off my 3T ASAP and go for A8+.

18. sleepypandaeyes

Posts: 377; Member since: Apr 12, 2015

Samsubg user 4 life but will deffo kept a sony phone as my backup

21. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Their cams are improving a lot now, despite the apparent blacklisting in the major tech sites. If you use gsmarena and their photo comparison tool you'll see that last year's mid-range Sony phones outperformed Samsung's A-series in the camera department. I expect it to be the same this year as they're moving away from the crappy mediatek ISP and focusing more on the software side of things.

2. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

While it's a stupid fault to make, sending data over the Alibaba group servers doesn't mean at all Alibaba the web commerce part is getting it. Alibaba, just like Amazon, has cloud services meant for all sorts of sites.

5. paul.k

Posts: 296; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

Thanks for pointing this out. It's fixed now AliBaba AliBaba AliBaba :)

6. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Hahaha thanks

7. Papa_Ji

Posts: 859; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

Who knows what apple and google are doing OS level.....esp. Apple who is caught for showing down the phone.

8. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

This is the problem with Chinese made smartphones. They always do sneaky stuff and get caught. US people should not but these handsets under any circumstance. Apple and Sony is a safe bet imo. Koreans are also too much connected these days so they also cannot be trusted very much.

14. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Piyath? You were on OnePlus' band wagon some few months back...now you've hopped off AGAIN?

19. sleepypandaeyes

Posts: 377; Member since: Apr 12, 2015

Ignore him, he has no credibility at all

12. Anonymous.

Posts: 423; Member since: Jun 15, 2016

Another day, yet another OnePlus scandal. It's getting comical.

17. Techist

Posts: 311; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

As much as I admire OnePlus' and other Chinese vendors' value proposition, I will not purchase their products because it inevitably emerges that they are sending personal, private data back to China. OnePlus, Blu, Huawei, ZTE, etc. They all release phones and electronic devices that are very affordable, but have been found to have "back doors" that either allow some kind of access to the device that is unknown to the user, or to - unknown to the user - transmit personal, private data back to China. When one back door is discovered and closed, it's only a matter of time before another one is outed. And now the trend is even extending to home security cameras. Cheap financially, but costly when it comes to your personal information.

16. NorthernViking

Posts: 40; Member since: Mar 25, 2015

That kind of surveillance is obviously meant for the chinese people and government.

20. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

There has been an update on this topic: Android Police reader Nicholas Torkos installed the latest beta (OP_O2_Open_29) on his OnePlus 3, and used mitmproxy to inspect the data being sent. From his findings, the clipboard data itself is not being transmitted, but the app is making connections to a server whenever the contents of the clipboard is updated. According to this reddit poster, a note in the HydrogenOS beta changelog indicates that the feature was intended for accelerating actions: Smart clipboard recognition which provide appropriate buttons to help you accelerate your next action. This feature currently support recognition for url, address and TaoBao (e-commerce) content. So in the end it is not as bad as it sounded

22. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Clipboard data? they can have it. lol

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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