Reports are circling that a number of Nokia 7 Plus handsets in Norway are sending confidential user data to a server overseas.
According to a Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, some of the Finnish-made mobile phones sent sensitive information such as user phone numbers, locations, and even device serial numbers. The report stated that the destination of the said data is a server located in China.
Nokia And HMD Global
Finnish company HMD Global, which provides royalties to Nokia, reportedly built the mobile phones, and is now under fire for the alleged unauthorized sharing of personal data. Upon questioning, HMD said there was indeed a batch of Nokia 7 Plus smartphones that had an "error," although the company already fixed the problem with an update back in February. HMD also stressed that the information sent to the Chinese server contained nothing to identify the owner's identities.
However, HMD declined to comment regarding the owner of the said Chinese server. A report identified the server as "vnet.cn," which reportedly belongs to state-owned carrier China Telecom. Meanwhile, Nokia, which has no direct investment with HMD, refused to comment about the issue.
Not So Fast
While HMD claims that it already fixed the issue, Finland's data protection ombudsman thinks an investigation is needed. According to reports, Ombudsman Reijo Aarnio would investigate whether HMD and Nokia violated some of the restrictions of Europe's GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) policies.
Launched in March last year, the Nokia 7 Plus became widely available in Europe and China, among other countries. While Nokia phones in China are expected to contact a Chinese carrier, European models of the handset should not.
This controversy is the latest in a series of accusations involving the misuse of consumer data and trade secrets. Earlier this year, the U.S. government filed charges against Chinese manufacturer Huawei over stealing trade secrets and violating trade sanctions.