Should we Ban Xiaomi Phones from being Advertised on OzBargain?

In light of unawareness in the Ozbargain Community of preinstalled Adware inside Xiaomi Phones.

I will present an argument to ban or at least require posts to have a disclaimer on the Adware features in the Official Global Roms.

Undoubtedly lots of Xiaomi Wumao team have been paid to downvote my previous posts even after I have provided core evidence of the adware behaviour.

Proof that there is adware embedded into the core features of the Security App. This is not due to a vendor ROM being installed.

Ever seen that notification that the trash is 357 MB full or something? Once you clean the trash, you will see the ads. So it is not like it doesn't want you to view the ads or that it is hidden well enough that a normal user won't see the ads.

Inside the Downloads App there are also ads that appear but require you to have at least some apps downloaded before they appear. (Tap Three Ellipsis -> Settings -> Content settings -> "Note that Show recommended content is on by default". Turn this off.

Inside the Menu where you can change the name of your Folders on the home screen, there may also be promoted apps ads that popup. There is a guide to remove this.

A lot of this has only started recently in MIUI 8, so once you update to the latest patch to acquire the latest "Android Security Patches", you will then start to gain other unscrupulous modifications which would not have existed in previous versions of the Official Global Rom.

You might also think that because you don't see it during your normal use that it is not there. In fact it has always been there, and you probably have no idea what it is doing in the background, if anything at all.

You deserve the truth. Now judge the issue based on the facts and not opinion please.

Definition of Adware:
Software that automatically displays or downloads advertising material (often unwanted) when a user is online.

Poll Options

  • 93
    Ban
  • 269
    Not Ban
  • 278
    Not Ban but Require Compulsory Disclaimer
  • 71
    I Just want to Vote(Candy Option)

Comments

  • +64

    I'm using MIUI 8, updated OTA and I do not have ads.

    How about you stop spreading bullshit?

    • -15

      No, clearly you are spreading lies. In fact many users have been experiencing what I have described even after flashing the Official Rom.

      Please post a screenshot of your Security App after Deep Cleaning.

      http://imgur.com/a/H0qcd

      • +20

        If Diji1 won't buy your conspiracy theory, it requires further work!

        The screen shot above clearly shows an advert, I agree, but it offers no evidence that Xiaomi put it there, rather than, for example, you have some other compromised software or ROM.
        Do you really believe you would be the only person screaming about this if it were the case?

        I am happy to believe in corporate bad practices (e.g. SONY root kits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_BMG_copy_protection_rootk... or Download Valley garbage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Download_Valley)

        But you need to give a bit more evidence than a screenshot from your phone.

        • +8

          More Information

          https://www.gizmochina.com/2016/07/04/miui-8-still-plagued-a...
          https://www.gizmochina.com/2016/06/17/lei-jun-responds-criti...

          Lei Jun, the CEO basically confirmed there are ads inside the system.

          Apparently this has been around for a long time. I am surprised not many people here even know about it.

          I sure as hell was not aware of this when I bought my phone…

          I am hoping that others don't make the same mistake.

        • +2

          @VPNWasteOfCash:
          OK, I don't have a Xiaomi phone (my son does, and doesn't have this) but I do get advertising notifications on my other China droid and even on my iPhone.
          But not in the middle of a system app display like you have posted! I agree that Xiaomi shouldn't have this (but I am also a bit surprised that NSW TAFE would be a paying advertiser, WTF!) and I agree it is a good idea to make a disclaimer that says "Note the default Xiaomi system includes advertising". I'm not in favour of banning them. And if you are correct and it can be turned off via preferences, I don't think it is a particularly big deal.

          Apologies for my intense scepticism before, and to be honest I would like to hear confirmation of other global ROM users too. I know that many Chinese companies will adopt different standards on things like this for the home market versus international or Russia/India. It isn't clear if the links you posted quoting Lei Jun applies to all markets, or just China.

        • -2

          @mskeggs:showing ads….doesn't bother me….there are many websites that have google ads on their pages to earn revenue…

          Adware/posting ads is far less that poking into someone's privacy.

          Update: I am using xiaomi Mi5s with 8.2 stable rom and never seen ads like @VPNWasteofMoney shown.

        • @usmanyousaf: What is the difference between "showing ads" and "Adware/posting ads"? The former you say it "doesn't bother me", but the latter is "poking into someone's privacy"?

          The OP's definition of Adware "Software that automatically displays or downloads advertising material (often unwanted) when a user is online."… sounds a lot like "showing ads" to me…

      • +1

        Strange, no ad on my one http://imgur.com/a/INVCw

        What's your MIUI ROM version?

    • Offtopic: Can you please suggest a good website where in I can find the step by step instructions to upgrade my Xiaomi Mi5 to MIUI8. I have downloaded from their website, but when I try to install it using Updater tool, it throws an error message "Couldn't verify update package". I have unlocked the MIUI. Thanks in Advance!

    • OK, how do I get paid? !

  • +5

    even after flashing the Official Rom

    Sounds like you did something wrong, flashed mine as soon as I got it, best phone I have ever owned.

  • +22

    I'd say 28,000 drive away is a fair price.

    I'd get the dealership to throw in tint or floor mats.

    Good luck!

  • +2

    Member for 16 days, now wants to instigate change like this…

    Alrighty then!

    I sense a conflict of interest here, given the passion behind it.

    • +19

      While OP is making a weighted proposal, can we keep the membership elitism out of this?

      Members aren't the only ones who frequent this site.

      • +20

        can we keep the membership elitism out of this?

        It's the only elitism I have!

      • Sometimes I browse on other computers, so it'll show up as guest. Im sure this would be the case for others as well.

    • +7

      We're just all Xiaomi Wumao apparently.

        • +11

          So Xiaomi who do not operate in or care about Australia are paying people to downvote haters on forums such as this?

        • +10

          @VPNWasteOfCash:

          However, the reasoning behind it is that it could take away some affiliate revenue. If the ban was in place there would be a loss of revenue.

          Loss of affiliate revenue…?!

          You're going to make assumptions about the site and the running of it after such a short time?

          Do you want people to take your argument seriously or not?

          Seriously pull your head in.

        • +8

          @VPNWasteOfCash:

          Then you should know of the number of times that Scotty and the mod team have publicly explained about affiliation links etc, and wouldn't need to use lies about it in an attempt to further your argument.

          Address the issues at hand re: Xiaomi phones, don't throw slander about the site owners reasons/motives for site rules.

        • +4

          @VPNWasteOfCash: Why is your location United States?

  • +6

    Love my Xiaomi phone

  • +39

    I don't want the Chinese government to spy on me. I only accept the US government spying on me.

    • +23

      The Australian government is also hoovering up all your metadata.

    • -8

      This has nothing to do with it… Man, you guys just keep moving the thread offtopic even though I have provided the evidence that the roms are being loaded up with adware.

      • +12

        That's fair, but it appears no one else here has come across any ads. Myself included. And.. if in your examples, it's hardly a deal breaker considering the quality of the phone vs price. If there is evidence of pre-installed malware, then that's a different story.

    • +1

      Brilliant dozingquinn.

      We always hear of those Chinese or Russian hackers who supposedly gain access to ones devices.

      The sad truth (as most IT and security related fields know) is that the CIA/Mossad probably already knows all your secrets already through your devices… and uses misinformation or deception to make it look like another state has compromised it.

      But as you succinctly point out that's fine cos they're not THAT bad. ;)

      • Yeah, they're on our side. Take our data to quash dissent and onward with looting the rest of the world!

  • +3

    no ads present…

  • +9

    Let people make their own choice. I'm just here for bargains mate.

    • Yeah, agreed

  • +8

    Why not try to ban microsofts windows 10?

    Wait Europe did something about Microsoft. Now its payback time. Think I just answered my own question.

  • +3

    Cool story bro!

    No ban, educate and let people decide for themselves.

    • +3

      Yeah, people need to be educated about the new changes coming along…

      This doesn't affect older MIUI versions.

      The whole idea behind the poll is a discussion, but people just downvoted me on the other thread instead of actually providing any discussion material.

      I even mentioned some workarounds, but the negs still come. I wonder why? Conflict of Interest?

      • +2

        Just the way you put it in the OP. This is a bargain site not a tech review. Not much people give a damn about adware, they just want value for money. While you are providing some solid evidence, calling for a ban on a phone brand just because it have adware is ludicrous, especially when you can easily fix it. How is banning the phone gonna educate people on the issue?

        A lot of people will just miss the poll about disclaimer, i swear if your title to the OP would have been along the line of educational disclaimer, you wouldn't have gotten any negativity. When your first impression is of an irrational person, people are a lot less likely to hear what you have to say.

  • +5

    Bikies

    • +2

      They use Blackberrys.

      Get with the program.

  • +1

    Use adguard. Period.

    • +5

      The average person is just buying the Xiaomi Phones and not looking at doing any modifications. For me, I can go load on Lineage OS rom and be done with it and everything is fine..

      That isn't the point of the thread though because most people aren't even educated that there are ads.

      Some even believe in the fantasy that there will never be ads and cannot be ads in the MIUI 8 system.

    • +1

      Fun and I would get paid. ;-)

      • +1

        exactly !!! like me, apparently some guy on the interweb said I just joined XiaomiWumao few minutes ago…already got paid too. But I dont even know who I work for :):)

        • +3

          Yeah, but I like to do Free Discussion, even on MDL/Reddit about the new Windows 10 advertising system.

          Alert people to changes. I bet most people here wouldn't even realise Windows 10 has ads because they most likely don't have the features turned on.

          There are some in the start menu for example… (Of course I don't have mine turned on)

          In all seriousness, do people think that it is appropriate? A paid product with ads?

  • +2

    Look if someone wants to rewrite the topic and remove references to ban. I'm up for that.

    It still needs to be educational about the Xiaomi MIUI 8 ads system which the CEO has already admitted does in fact exist.

  • I have a mi5 running 8.2 global. It has a few weird issues with USB compatibility but I haven't seen any ads, hopefully it stays that way.

  • +9

    Got a Xiaomi Mi5 s plus

    Never ever going back to apple & samsung

  • +3

    I think I have found a quick workaround, although I am still trying to convince myself as to why simply changing the region seems to turn off the ads. (Sounds like a joke right?)

    Basically you shouldn't use Malaysia or India as your Region as that seems to trigger the most ads (needs a reboot or a simple clear from the memory for it to take effect). I think it is because Xiaomi preloads some apps that it bundles which then triggers the ad suite.

    Ironically the correlation between people reporting the issue as a bug is also highly correlated to the regions Malaysia and India. Notably, one of the links I linked to earlier.

    If the above is actually true. (This will require more testing.) Then I really wonder what the internal policy at Xiaomi is and why certain consumers are being shafted.

    Can someone test that changing region to Malaysia results in more ads?

    • +1

      Maybe the phones are subsidized in those regions through the use of ads to remain competitive?

      • +6

        Work around seems to be hidden from the mainstream, but apparently it isn't really that effective apparently.

        I just noticed someone else figured it out before I did on 21 November 2016, but yet no responses on the MIUI ads in security app threads ranging across the timeframe (there are several). I put this down to the possibility this isn't actually a proper workaround. They were also tinkering with the MIUI ecosystem too.

        http://en.miui.com/thread-294530-4-1.html

        Below is a copy and paste:


        Unfortunately, during my tests I changed locale to russia which switched my device into "international mode". Since then, device remembers this status and advertising servers refuse to give me any advertisement. That is actually good info because this status stays in my device also after switching locale back to china.
        Therefore, I have partial solution for chinese users who are annoyed by advertisement:
        Change your locale to another country (i tested Russia) and then if you need, change it back.If you are an international user and you still see chinese advertisement, I recommend to change locale to your (or nearby) country.

        This seems to be good news - all solved, right? well, NO. Thanks to xiaomi, their tracking (MSA comes together with Analytics app) still works and still sends huge amount of data which are encrypted.
        Recently, I updated to 8.0.3 global stable which seems to work without troubles on my device (fortunately). However, since then, amount of tracking data increased rapidly.
        Data are being sent to http://data.mistat.xiaomi.com/mistats/v2 (yep, no HTTPS again) with all metadata readable (device ID, device type, app ID) but most of the data is being encrypted: http://screencast.com/t/mYNAtpzI
        Data packets like this one seems to be sent three times a day in short bursts (in my case, after the update it is 01:13, 11:22, 20:41) counting approximately 20 requests with sizes from 1kB to 30kB.
        At the moment, I have no idea about content of encrypted messages as I am unable to decrypt it. I will work on that later. All I know is, that Global Stable ROM V8.0.3.0.MXDMIDG (MIUI8) for Mi4, even in international settings, provide many unknown tracking data to xiaomi servers. This ecnrypted data may (or may not) contain personal information including messages, photos or logins/passwords or GPS location.
        Unless xiaomi provide clear explanation of this tracking process, we should expect that personal data are being collected.

        Also I would like to say that i did not enable "user experience programme - help improve MIUI by sending anonymous usage data". I disabled this option when I bought this device and it is still being disabled. Despite this, xiaomi collects data from my phone.


        Hmm…. I wouldn't usually look into this stuff because it isn't that important to me as Google/Microsoft literally vaccums up data in a similar manner. The annoying intrusive ads are what I really hate. However, I will do some additional work in light of this discovery. It might take a few days before I can make a conclusion. I'm retired from the IT industry, so I can spend all day on this. Wish me luck.

  • -3

    omgwgaf

  • +5

    Didn't have advertisement two hours ago, then i updated OTA to check .. now I have ad's

    • +5

      Sadly, this was the same case for me and others by the looks of what is written on the MIUI forums.

      I basically updated to the latest OTA and started seeing ads. Then I requested to unlock bootloader, but it was already unlocked by Goldway. I reflashed the latest official global rom as people have stated, and people (on reddit) always mention "Just flash Official and there will be no Ads"… It doesn't seem like the case anymore. Anyway, after reflash I proceeded to setup with the same region that Goldway ships with, which is Malaysia. I then saw the ads were still there, and made a few posts in other ozbargain threads to notify people. After that failed due to comments being hidden, this thread was born. The rest is history.

      I haven't isolated why the ads appear even when there are basically no apps installed. Changing region doesn't seem to load any additional apps that I can see in the installed apps section. Those additional ones like Booking.com and others can be uninstalled, but with those apps removed the ads still seem to persist while in certain regions.

      It is possible that the advertising is randomly allocated amongst users, which really would raise a red flag to anyone looking to buy the phone. Your phone might not behave the same as the next one.

      Who would want to buy a phone that has this kind of behaviour???


      Furthermore, people really need to install the latest update due to the Android Security Patches. In fact many would claim 2 months old is too much.

      https://www.arnnet.com.au/article/616550/most-android-device...

      However, this should be balanced from the additional ads which are served to the Security App that has Full Permissions to the whole phone's system! I suspect it is only time until this becomes the major attack vector. With so many Xiaomi phones being sold, this is definitely something the black hats will be looking forward to exploiting.

      Moving on;

      I know they tried to fix the com.miui.systemAdSolution which basically allows any app to be installed on the Xiaomi phone by adding signature verification. The thread below explains it, but note the OP believes it is part of an Ad System because of the way it is named. I mean why would a developer have such a weird naming convention if it doesn't serve a dual purpose? Conspiracy?

      http://en.miui.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=294530

      Literally the author goes through asking about why it is embedded into the MIUI 8 system. Apparently their issue is still unresolved.

      I cannot really comment on it as I'm still looking into it, but their findings include this picture which should really put a dagger through one's heart and confidence.

      http://content.screencast.com/users/vecernik/folders/Jing/me...


      Xiaomi phones really look like they are copying the Windows 10 ad formula. Sell the phones clean, just like you sell the clean OS and then start creeping the ads in… You'll know why I feel this way. There is nothing we can do except not buy it because your phone might not have ads today, but who knows what will happen by the end of the year.

      The phone as shipped by Goldway didn't have an ads on it, only after installing the latest OTA and then the official global rom (people said it might have been a vendor rom issue (boy were they wrong) - I used the clean all flash function), it started to happen. It has been there for two updates that I can confirm. 8.2.2 and 8.2.4. Goldway shipped on 8.0.something

    • Did you update OTA because of this post? Did OP give you ADs?!

      • +4

        At least OP didn't give him AIDS

  • -1

    i thought this was old news. We all know that xiaomi phones are full of spyware. They're only listed as bargains so that we can give it to people we don't like.

  • So you guys got an official rom on yours?
    I usually get ones with the fake roms with adware and probably other stuff installed in them.
    Have to flash the official roms on every new phone.

  • +6

    To the original poster,

    I get you are trying to make people aware of the adware in Xiaomi devices but honestly people don't care. It's like saying you stepped on an ant today. Nobody cares. The fact is no one has shown gratitude to your posts but instead you're being berated. I often disagree with the majority but if no one listens or agrees then what's the point?

    People don't care about facts these days, especially when they have already made up their minds.

    Thank you for letting me know about adware on Xiaomi devices.

    • +4

      I care!

  • what's with all the bans? enough with the nanny governments! A disclaimer would do at most, but I really do think it should be up to you.

    • -2

      In my experience, it's the guys with a history of banging on about the the so-called "nanny state" that are the first to sue when their rights or interests are impacted.

      Go home and tidy your room.

      • Well it would make perfect sense for someone who is against "nanny states" to be concerned about their rights/interests being impacted…

        • Let me clarify.

          Those who are harmed in some way by the actions of others (including government), but then find they have no recourse to compensation due to deregulation or simply a lack of regulation - they always whine the most.

          It's only when they're directly affected that they suddenly realise what good regulation is all about.

  • I hope you use a tin foil hat while talking on your phone too, you never know what else they are trying

  • Adaware is a bugger, but there's a lot more sinister examples.

    Like Uber continuing to track iPhone users after they deleted the app.
    What scumbags.

    There are also good reasons the Oz government refused to have Huawei network gear used as part of the NBN.
    No way you commie bastards.

    Hang on, this has nothing to do with what the OP is on about.
    Sorry OP.
    Please continue.

    • lol in that case, you can't trust the one from US as well. In fact, US one is true and fact. China one didn't show up with good evidence yet. (not meaning that they are clean but we only have reasonable doubt here)

  • +2

    Interesting… I have a Redmi Note 3, recently ungraded to MIU8, got no ads on mine

    • Also got a Redmi Note 3, updates yesterday to MIUI8, no ads.

      EDIT: Just performed a Deep Clean and got ads, does not both me and I didn't even notice they were there.

      If I received ads that hindered my progress i.e. showed before loading an app I would have an issue though, fingers crossed this doesn't happen or Xiaomi back pedal.

  • +3

    Learn how to use your phone.

    Telstra has rubbish apps installed on their contracted phones, do you want to ban them too?

    • But you can flash it to remove right? This one you can't

  • For the OP

    While where at it ban iphone, windows,android, xbox, playstation systems you get my drift everything these days comes with bloatware thats life these days its a hard world to be honest might as well ban the internet while where at it

    Will make it easier if you stop clicking links and letting trojans in

    On a second note even my foxtel and optus had adds when i was paying for it lucky for me i got rid of it as i heard there are even more adds these days its like there double dipping :/

    • We should ban the whole WWW from being posted on Ozbargain, because it has ads.

      • Can Scotty do that?

  • +3

    I have redmi 3 here without any problem. Changed it to custom rom to have better performance.

    I will recommend lineageOS rom if anyone interested. It looks like the pixel software, very clean and fast.

    • +1

      I went thru all the roms thru my mi max to be honest i went back to stock nothing like the real thing

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