What is Realme's Enhanced Intelligent Services feature that sparked data controversy in India
Realme is under scanner following the controversy over its Enhanced Intelligent Services feature that has caught the eye of the govt over allegations of violation of Indian user data. What is it? Know all the details here.
Realme's Enhanced Intelligent Services feature has sparked a controversy in India over data privacy concerns. The issue was first raised by a Twitter user named Rishi Bagree, who highlighted that Realme smartphones have a default setting called "Enhanced Intelligent Services," which allegedly collects user data. He then posed a question in his tweet as to whether the data is being sent to China. As soon as the tweet gained attention, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State for Information Technology and Electronics, said that the government will take a look at it. Realme has not reacted so far to the controversy.
But what is the Enhanced Intelligent Services feature all about?
Enhanced Intelligent Services
This feature, as realme puts it, improves device functions and your user experience based on your preferences. On the Realme 11, where the description of the feature is available indicates that it is mainly based on optimising charging as well as providing personalisation features including wallpapers. In effect, it collects data and records trends of the user and then improves the user's future experience by doling out the information in a very tailor-made fashion.
mobile to buy?
Notably, for the feature to work, a lot of the information about users' usage and habits is harvested. The description says that in order to offer the charging optimization features, the "Enhanced Intelligent Services" requires access to your location information and app usage statistics, for which it accesses the Location of the device at all times. Not just that, to provide personalized wallpapers and other customizations, the feature even collects statistics related to unread messages, missed calls, calendar events, and device usage statistics. The phone is also designed to "...obtain the following permissions: connect to the Internet and read your calendar events, call logs and SMS messages."
Users in the dark?
Adding to the tweet controversy is that the feature is 'On' by default, which means it is working without the user actually having given any such permission. The feature is virtually hidden in the Settings app. The user will first have to know that his data is being collected and to switch it off, he would have to access it via “Settings - Additional settings - System services - Enhanced Intelligent Services.” The complex process reduces the likelihood of users even being aware of the default data collection