ACLU files complaint against mobile carriers

2013-05-03

Helen Martin

Virus Bulletin, UK
Editor: Helen Martin

Abstract

Complaint lodged against mobile phone carriers for failing to warn users about Android security flaws.


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against US mobile phone carriers for failing to warn their users about critical security flaws in the Android operating system running on their phones.

The ACLU has asked the FTC to investigate AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, whose phones do not receive critical software security updates, thus exposing consumers and their private data to cybersecurity-related risks.

Despite the fact that the Android operating system dominates the smartphone market, the majority of mobile devices running the software are running out-of-date versions – often with known critical vulnerabilities.

Although Google fixes flaws in the operating system on a regular basis, patches are not issued to consumers by the mobile carriers and device manufacturers – the more profitable route for them being to encourage users to upgrade to the latest device. As a result, the vast majority of Android users will not be running the latest version.

In its complaint, the ACLU argues that the major wireless carriers have engaged in ‘unfair and deceptive business practices’ by failing to warn their customers about known, unpatched security flaws in their mobile devices.

The full complaint can be read at http://www.aclu.org/technology-and-liberty/ftc-complaint-smartphone-security.

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