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.

| Updated on: Jun 17 2023, 20:14 IST
Realme 11 Pro+ 5G first impressions: Versatile and impressive
1/9 Realme launched its latest offering, the Realme 11 Pro+ 5G, in India on Thursday. Priced below Rs. 29,999, this smartphone combines a big battery, unique design, and some intriguing photography features. The Realme 11 Pro+ 5G aims to attract users with its versatility and all-around performance. We got our hands on the device and here are our first impressions. (Ijaj| HT Tech)
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2/9 Design: Setting itself apart from other smartphones, the Realme 11 Pro+ features a standout design. Its back panel boasts a curved, stain-resistant premium vegan leather finish, lending an element of sophistication. (Ijaj| HT Tech)
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3/9 Display: The Realme 11 Pro+ 5G sports a 6.7-inch sAMOLED display with a 120 Hz refresh rate. The display exhibits great clarity even under direct sunlight and provides a clear and smooth gaming experience. (Ijaj| HT Tech)
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4/9 Gaming: During an extended gaming session that lasted for an hour, the Realme 11 Pro+ proved its mettle by handling intensive games such as BGMI and Free Fire. However, it did exhibit some heating issues during prolonged gameplay. (Ijaj| HT Tech)
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5/9 Performance: Powered by the Mediatek Dimensity 7050 5G chipset, the Realme 11 Pro+ effortlessly handles everyday tasks such as web browsing, texting, calling etc. (Ijaj| HT Tech)
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6/9 Battery: Equipped with a 5000mAh battery and accompanied by a 100W SuperVOOC charger, the Realme 11 Pro+ 5G offers remarkable charging speeds, reaching from 1% to 100% in just 26 minutes. This feature not only saves time, but will also prove beneficial for travellers. (Ijaj| HT Tech)
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7/9 Camera: Featuring a 200 MP superOIS triple camera setup with 4x In-sensor zoom technology, the Realme 11 Pro+ captures satisfactory photos in daylight. These images exhibit ample detail, rich contrast, and accurate colour reproduction. However, despite the impressive 200-megapixel resolution of the primary camera, there is room for improvement in terms of image quality, particularly for achieving enhanced clarity and finer details. (Ijaj| HT Tech)
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8/9 Price: The Realme 11 Pro+ 5G starts at a price of Rs. 27,999 for the 8GB RAM and 256GB storage variant. The 12GB RAM and 256GB storage variant are available for Rs. 29,999. In this price range, there are several noteworthy competitors, including the Motorola Edge 40, iQOO Neo 7 5G, and Samsung Galaxy F54 5G.  (Ijaj | HT Tech)
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9/9 The Realme 11 Pro+ 5G impresses with its versatile features and noteworthy specifications. We will explore the phone's capabilities further in our comprehensive review, assessing whether the Realme 11 Pro series emerges as a truly exceptional smartphone and whether it has the potential to become your next device. So, keep checking this space for more. (Ijaj| HT Tech)
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Realme’s Enhanced Intelligent Services feature is said to collect users’ personal data and that too without express permission. (Ijaj / HT Tech)

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.

Not sure which
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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

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First Published Date: 17 Jun, 20:06 IST