Doogee Brand Phones and Privacy (and other China-based designers)

I have a Doogee brand rugged Android phone that I find quite acceptable as far as performance, battery life and durability. But privacy concerns over the way data is handled in China and by China-based companies made me start to wonder if using such a phone is really a good idea. I’m wondering if anyone has enough knowledge or references to provide evidence that there is a sure cause for any type of concern related to privacy with this and other China-based brands.

I understand that so many of our devices are manufactured in China already, while still designed in the U.S. or elsewhere. I also somewhat understand that there are varying degrees of privacy issues among manufacturers and operating systems, with Apple products generally touted as more private. I also have read that either operating system collects data by default, regardless of whether any third party apps are installed.

Does anyone have any insight or references that I can look into about this? I love the Android operating system, and I really enjoy using my Doogee phone, but I don’t want to continue just using it blindly if there really is a cause for concern. Currently, my only alternative, without having to buy anything, is an iPhone XR. Perhaps worst case scenario I could just install some form of port control and take a whitelist approach, where I only allow the ports I feel I really need, but that feels like it might be a little extreme.

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Here’s an article from 2019 on a backdoor trojan being found in the firmware of a Doogee BL7000.

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I’ve been a user of Apple products dating to before iPhone existed. I do think Apple, generally, is better at privacy than say Google but it’s not necessarily because Apple is more altruistic than Google.

Apple is primarily a hardware company. Apple wants to sell you as many devices as one is willing to purchase. Apple’s marketing of privacy serves its purpose of selling more devices.

Google is primarily an advertising company, so has incentive to use anonymized (it says) data to serve targeted advertising.

Yes, Apple is in a much more limited way than Google in the advertising business as Google in a much more limited way than Apple is in the hardware business.

These realities don’t make one company or the other more or less "evil’ than another. But; if one wants to know what a particular company’s motivation for the use of one’s data might be, look at how they make most of their money.

Another example related to technology but not smartphones is my Ring Video Doorbell. Ring is owned by Amazon. Ring’s app is constantly (and annoyingly) asking me if I wouldn’t be interested in more Ring devices conveniently sold at Amazon. Currently, I’m not. I just want to be able to see who’s at my door before answering.

Thank you. That’s exactly the kind of information I was looking for, and it led me to a few other articles from other sources about the matter also. I’ve never experienced the symptoms of trojans or malware these articles describe, as I am particular about my phone doing things I didn’t ask it to do. I think I might give that Dr.Web scanning software a try to see if it finds anything.

I doubt I would ever purchase a phone from this company myself. The Doogee phone I have was given to me by a friend of mine who had it on his shelf for a while, unused, and I was in need of a phone at the time. I haven’t used it as a primary phone in a while, but still consider it from time to time, since, as I mentioned earlier, it’s a solid rugged phone usage-wise.

Thank you again for sharing the article.

Thanks for your input, @rolandh

I am currently using an iPhone as my primary phone. Someone I knew was getting rid of it and said I could have it. It was in perfect condition and Wi-Fi calling/texting works really well, even without iMessage. I certainly prefer my device manufacturers to be more interested in the quality of their hardware than in the profit of their data collection. I also appreciate their focus on a more consistent experience across carriers.

To this day, though, I still prefer the user interface of the Android operating system. I can’t stand all this swiping for basic functions like the app switcher or the back button. It feels nice and fancy at first, but after using it for a few months it gets annoying when my swipes aren’t in exactly the right location to trigger the desired action. This is coming from a guy who misses the physical buttons on flip phones, lol.

I still have the Doogee Android phone and consider switching back to it from time to time, but so far just can’t bring myself to do so, because of the privacy concerns and also my need for Wi-Fi calling/texting, which the Doogee can’t do without something like Google Voice. But anyway, thank you again for your input. It’s nice to have a forum for these sorts of random discussions.