ACLU going after wireless carriers over Android security updates

April 17, 2013
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We often hear complaints surrounding the topic of getting updates on Android devices. While this seems to have been an ongoing complaint for many, it looks like it is now getting some attention from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In this case, the ACLU has filed a request asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look into the lack of updates coming from the wireless carriers.

Specifically, this request for investigation was filed this week and is against the four major US carrier which includes AT&T and T-Mobile as well as Verizon Wireless and Sprint. While we often talk of updates pertaining to Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, the ACLU seems to be talking more in regards to security here. In fact, the briefing mentions that "all four of the major wireless carriers consistently fail to provide consumers with available security updates to repair known security vulnerabilities in the software operating on mobile devices."

Diving in a bit deeper and there is also talk about how the carriers are not warning users about how they may be buying a smartphone that is "defective" and possibly running a "vulnerable operating system and browser software." Further details in the filing talk about how providing software update is not just "an industry best practice" but should be a "basic requirement." The basic requirement portion comes into play due to these devise often having sensitive information such as email, banking details and personal images.

While we wait to see the response from the FTC, some of the carriers have begun to respond. In this case the response is what many would expect. For example, Verizon Wireless spoke about how they are known for their "rigorous testing protocols" and how they "work closely" with OEM partners to "provide mandatory updates to devices as quickly as possible." Whether or not this will change anything is another story entirely, but it is sort of nice to see this action being taken if for no other reason than it brings this to a place where it can be discussed.

[via ars technica]


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  • http://profiles.google.com/breeves2000 Ben Reeves

    They’re searching for relevancy in a different market because they’ve pissed off everyone else with their BS.