AMAZON HAS suspended sales of phones from Miami-based budget phone manufacturer Blu for allegedly relaying to a whole crock of data back to Chinese servers.
Last week, Kryptowire showed that the silent background data harvest was terminating at a company called Shanghai Adups Technology which, according to the info we have, offers Firmware Over The Air (FOTA). This means that the whole thing may be perfectly legit, but it's not being transparent.
Oh yes. And it has previous. Adups has been repeatedly accused of planting spyware on devices, along with back doors, to make getting more data in and out even easier.
Moreover, Blu isn't a first time offender either. The former partner of Amazon's Prime Exclusive Phones doohicky (UK readers, don't worry, we don't have that here yet) was first suspended last October when its Blu R1 HD was found sporting exactly the same tracking software.
At the time, Blu said it was a "mistake" and took the spyware out. Along with the same spyware from the Life One X2 model it was also hidden in. Sometimes the system was even sending SMS messages.
This time, however, the same security company found the same firm using the same company's spyware in more expensive models of phone stocked by the same retailer. Only this time they're collecting cell tower data and even more personal ID. In terms of dumb moves, it could be classed as "as dumb as a trump". For legal reasons, we should point out that means "stupid fart" and definitely nothing else. Definitely not.
A statement to CNET last week from Amazon said: "Because security and privacy of our customers is of the utmost importance, all Blu phone models have been made unavailable for purchase on Amazon.com until the issue is resolved," (we love it when sentences end on a comma).
Blu has also been accused of patent violation by everyone's favourite autumnal berry has-been Blackberry.
According to The Verge, Blu said that it "has several policies in place which take customer privacy and security seriously."
Amazon has started relisting phones Blu, which says that a "false alarm" saw sales of the devices suspended last week.
Blu confirmed the cockup to Engadget, saying that any data its devices collect is "standard for OTA functionality" and "does not affect any user's privacy or security." This has clearly been enough to satisfy Amazon, with the phones now back on sale on the retailer's website. µ
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