“The America Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission today asking the agency to investigate the four major mobile carriers’ security practices in regards to smartphones,” Dara Kerr reports for CNET. “The civil liberties group claims that AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are not doing enough to protect users’ private and personal data — specifically on Android devices”
“The gist of the complaint is that these carriers aren’t providing users with timely security updates, which the ACLU says is akin to “deceptive and unfair business practice,'” Kerr reports. “‘The major wireless carriers have sold millions of Android smartphones to consumers,’ the ACLU wrote in its complaint. ‘The vast majority of these devices rarely receive software security updates.'”
Kerr reports, “‘Android smartphones that do not receive regular, prompt security updates are defective and unreasonably dangerous,’ the ACLU wrote. ‘As the FTC has acknowledged, security vulnerabilities on consumers’ mobile devices may be used ‘to record and transmit information entered into or stored on the device … to target spear-phishing campaigns, physically track or stalk individuals, and perpetrate fraud, resulting in costly bills to the consumer… [and to misuse] sensitive device functionality such as the device’s audio recording feature… to capture private details of an individual’s life.'”
Kerr reports, “Android devices are notorious for attracting malware and some of it is quite sophisticated. Some types of malware can embed themselves on smartphones and steal information from users, while others act as spyware and take over components of the device. Last October, the FBI warned users to be aware of such mobile malware because it is especially lured to Android’s operating system.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Android. “Open” in all the wrong ways. iPhone knockoffs come with a hefty price; too hefty a price for discriminating smartphone users.
Android is very fragmented. Many Android OEMs… install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves from the commodity Android experience. The user is left to figure it all out… In addition to Google’s own app marketplace, Amazon, Verizon, and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own app stores for Android. So, there will be at least four app stores on Android, which customers must search among to find the app they want and developers will need to work with to distribute their apps and get paid.
This is going to be a mess for both users and developers.
What’s best for the customer? Fragmented versus integrated? We think Android is very, very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day. And, as you know, Apple strives for the integrated model so the user isn’t forced to be the systems integrator. We see tremendous value in having Apple, rather than our users, be the systems integrator.
We think this is a huge strength of our approach compared to Google’s. When selling to users who want their devices to just work, we believe integrated will trump fragmented every time. And we also think our developers can be more innovative if they can target a singular platform, rather than a hundred variants. They can put their time into innovative new features, rather than testing on hundreds of different handsets. So we are very committed to the integrated approach, no matter how many times Google tries to characterize it as “closed,” and we are confident that it’ll triumph over Google’s fragmented approach, no matter how many times Google tries to characterize it as “open.” — Apple CEO Steve Jobs, October 18, 2010
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Markus Winter” for the heads up.]
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