Amazon, the eCommerce giant, has halted sales of low-cost smartphones from Miami-based BLU over security concerns.
According to a report, Amazon is stopping sales of the cheap BLU mobile devices after Kryptowire, a security company, revealed that data collected on the Android-based phones was being collected and sent back to servers in China. The data collection was not known to customers, but the company denied any wrongdoing. The smartphone manufacturer uses software that was developed by Chinese firm Shanghai Adups. “The data that is currently being collected is standard for [over-the-air update] functionally and basic informational reporting,” Blu Marketing Director Carmen Gonzalez wrote in response to the Kryptowire presentation, reported Ars Technica. “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.”
Amazon said in a statement: “We recently learned of a potential security issue on select BLU phones, some of which are sold on Amazon.com. 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.”
This isn’t the first time BLU has run into privacy problems. According to media reports, in November the smartphone maker disclosed the same third-party app was collecting customer text messages, call logs and contacts on certain models of its phones. It said at the time the Adups software had affected 120,000 phones and said it was replacing the Chinese application in future devices. Amazon’s move to remove the BLU phones comes amid increased concerns about privacy and security in China and elsewhere in the world. The report noted Kryptowire is standing by its findings and provided technical information to other researchers to confirm the data collection was going on.