Amazon halts sales of Blu smartphones over privacy concerns


The online retailing giant told CNET that it was suspending sales of phones from Blu, known for making ultra-cheap handsets, due to a "potential security issue". And until Blu can provide the assurance that's sorely needed from the consumer's eye, Amazon's removal of Blu phones seems to be warranted for the time being. Johnson purchased a Blu Grand M from Best Buy for $70, and found the device was still sending data to China.

Interestingly, Blu was originally a member of Amazon's "Prime Exclusive Phones" program, which offered users discounted hardware in exchange for ads on their lock screen. It was first under fire in November of a year ago after software was discovered collecting contacts and text messages, though Blu said it wasn't aware it was happening.

Update: BLU also released a statement yesterday afternoon retreading its defense of the firmware from November.

Furthermore, BLU chose to switch the Adups OTA application on future devices with Google's GOTA.

BLU denied any wrongdoings, explaining it stopped including AdUps in its product software package since 2016, although some older devices still use it.

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"Now nearly a year later, the devices are still behaving in the same exact way, with standard and basic data collection that pose no security or privacy risk".

BLU hired Kryptowire in November of 2016 since their first report to regularly monitor the ADUPS application in their devices, and they have since been doing that. It's not a high-end device like the iPhone or the Galaxy S8, but it is a nice budget smartphone for the masses who don't want to drop lots of cash.

All in all, it's the phone makers' responsibility to ensure that user data is protected.

Blu goes on by saying that there is nothing wrong with some information being stored in third-party servers in China. "Blu has several policies in place which takes customer privacy and security very seriously, and confirms that there has been no breach or issue of any kind with any of its devices", the company wrote.