According to ocworkbench Xiaomi RedMi note is sending SMS’ and photos to server in China. There are already many articles on the net pointing to the same source. So are Xiaomi handsets really sending data to Chinese server?
RedMi handsets though launched are not yet available in India. The Mi3 is already popular in India and selling like hot cakes. I am not sure if the data is being sent to Chinese servers and neither can I trust the source (dated 19th July 2014) as there are several points missing.
Update : Statement from Mi India.
The image attached shows the messaging app that is actually sending the data to IP address in China. Note that is the only app that is doing so. As per the source the activity continued even when miCloud service was turned off, on 3G there just a handshake and on Wi-Fi the data is transmitted in the background.
The messaging app in question has a cloud messaging option that is switched on by default; you can disable it if you want. What this cloud messaging does is it lets you send messages to anyone else using MiUi. It supports both text and MMS. The MiCloud services also has the Cloud messaging option (that takes you to the messaging settings) plus gives you option to take backup of contacts, SMS’s photo, logs etc. Backups are off by default on the Indian Mi3 but Cloud messaging is enabled.
Moreover if you are really concerned about data privacy there is data restrict option and you can block data access to messaging app.
The source does not mention anything about if they tried the data restrict option and if they specially switched off cloud messaging. Also in security there is user experience program that is switched on by default. The source also tried flashing the RedMi note with a new ROM but the data was still being sent, I am not sure how that is possible? unless they flashed it again with the same MiUi ROM.
I downloaded the OS Monitor app and I do see the same IP address 18.104.22.168 used by some app like Music, service framework. I have disabled the same for Messaging app, did not find any for that yet.
I have checked a Micromax handset running on stock android it is also doing the same for settings, OS monitor, System however point to sever in the United states (Google). Even on Samsung handset the same pinging google servers in US. Since Xiaomi is using MiUi based on Android 4.4.2 (it is a Custom ROM) and they are from China it is natural they will use their servers, I think its normal and not a big issue.