Amazon Pulls Blu Smartphones from Its Virtual Shelves
Amazon has suspended sales of smartphones made by Blu over privacy concerns. A security firm called Kryptowire recently demonstrated that Blu phones collect consumer data and send it to servers located in China — all without alerting the owner. "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," said Amazon in a statement provided to CNET. Blu vehemently denies any wrongdoing. "There is absolutely no spyware or malware or secret software on Blu devices," insisted Carmen Gonzalez, Marketing Director at Blu. The Adups OTA application, which what Kryptowire identified as the bad actor, is standard software, according to Blu. "The data that is currently being collected [by Adups] is standard for OTA functionally and basic informational reporting. This is in line with every other smartphone device manufacturer in the world. There is nothing out of the ordinary that is being collected, and certainly does not affect any user's privacy or security." Blu went on to defend the company's decision to store information in China, as well, claiming Huawei and ZTE have plenty of servers in China that contain consumer data. The company says it takes customer privacy seriously and there have been no security breaches due to its data collection policies. Blu did not address Amazon's decision to halt sales. Amazon did not say what it has asked Blu to change in order to bring its phones back online. Blu was one of the first handset companies to participate in Amazon's Prime Exclusive Phones program, which offers steeply discounted handsets in exchange for ads that appear on the lock screen.
Nov 15, 2016
Kryptowire, a security research firm, says millions of phones made by Chinese companies, including Blu, include a secret backdoor that send owner text messages to a server in China. The backdoor also records location data, reports the contents of messages, and identifies the recipients of those messages.
Mar 30, 2018
Huawei plans to soldier on in the U.S. market despite recent setbacks.
May 1, 2018
Blu Products has reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over allegations that it allowed its phones to surreptitiously collect owner data.
Aug 7, 2017
Blu Products said over the weekend that its phones are once again available from Amazon.com. Amazon ceased selling the phones after it discovered the phones may be collecting consumer data and sending the data to remote servers.
May 14, 2018
Facebook today provided an update on its internal audit with respect to apps’ access to user data. Specifically, the company is examining which apps had access to large amounts of user data, similar to Cambridge Analytica, and if those apps misused that data.