Phone Maker BLU “Settles” Unauthorized Data Collection Charges With FTC….. Sort Of

Android phone-maker BLU Products agreed to a proposed settlement on Tuesday with the Federal Trade Commission, over allegations it allowed the third-party Chinese firm Adups Technology to collect detailed consumer data from users without their consent. Now if name Adups sounds familiar, it’s because I covered Adups and the threat that they posed back in 2016.

What the FTC is accusing BLU of doing is sharing the full contents of their users’ text messages, real-time cell tower location data, call and text-message logs, contact lists, and applications used and installed on devices. That’s not trivial to say the least. But the problems don’t end there. I’ve read the proposed settlement, and I find it worse than useless. Here’s why:

  • It does not include any financial penalty or consumer restitution as this is a first offense. And the FTC lacks the power to levy such financial penalties in this situation. However, if BLU violated the final FTC settlement order, it could face a civil penalty of up to $41,484 per incident.
  • The proposed agreement would subject BLU to third-party security assessments every two years for 20 years, as well as require it to maintain compliance-monitoring requirements.

So, in other words it’s a slap on the wrist. #Fail

My advice, if you have one of these phones, dump it now. There’s zero reason to trust them as they are very unlikely to get fixed. And ironically enough they’re likely way more dangerous to Americans then the Chinese made ZTE and Huawei phones that has the Trump administration is worried about. And keep in mind, BLU is an American company. The fact that an American company teamed up with a Chinese company to access user data should make alarm bells ring. No?

 

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