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Taiwanese regulators clear Apple, other smartphone makers of violating data privacy laws

Taiwan's National Communications Commission on Wednesday announced a conclusion to its probe regarding methods by which certain smartphones, including Apple's iPhone, transmit personal data, ultimately finding that none of the 12 companies investigated breached local privacy laws.

A National Communications Commission office in Taipei. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

A National Communications Commission office in Taipei. | Source: Wikipedia


The NCC's probe began in September as an audit of Chinese company Xiaomi over concerns that the firm's products automatically sent user data back to servers located in mainland China, reports Reuters. An additional 11 smartphone manufacturers, including foreign producers like Apple and Samsung, were added to the investigation earlier this month.

Xiaomi made headlines in July after the company's Redmi Note handset was found to send private data like messages and photos to Chinese servers without user permission. The allegations were initially limited to Xiaomi, but later extended to other products and services thought to be in violation of Taiwan's Personal Information Protection Act.

"The key issue is that companies have to tell consumers if they are collecting their personal data or transferring it elsewhere," NCC vice chairman Hsiao-Cheng Yu said in early December. "Our law is quite strict."

Aside from Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi, the probe included handsets brought to market by LG, Sony, Huawei, ZTE, HTC, Asustek Computer, Far EasTone Telecommunications, Taiwan Mobile and InFocus.

While the investigation found no wrongdoing, NCC official James Lou said the government body is planning to request increased security safeguards from smartphone manufacturers.