Earlier this week Amazon took some of the low-budget manufacturer BLU’s phones off the retailer’s digital shelves, following allegations that BLU had included spyware in its products. It seems to have been a false alarm, though, as today BLU has announced in a tweet that Amazon is back to stocking its phones. Customers looking to pick up a cheap and capable phone can again purchase them at the US’ biggest online merchant.
Regardless of the original allegations, there’s certainly more to the story, as BLU claims to have disabled the offending features in its phones. In a press release pushed out earlier this week, BLU argued that, after being notified by security firm Kryptowire of the data collection problem in 2016, the functionality was disabled from the offending Adups OTA application. Furthermore, it promises that all future BLU products will use Google’s GOTA instead of Adups OTA.
Amazon’s knee-jerk reaction was likely a result of Kryptowire’s announcement at the recent Black Hat security conference, in which the researchers alleged BLU only replaced the offending software with “nicer versions” that continued to infringe user privacy. At its worst, the data being collected included “Browser history, call log, text message metadata (phone number with timestamp), IMEI, IMSI, Wi-Fi MAC Address, list of installed applications, and the list of applications used with timestamps.” BLU’s recent changes may have trimmed that list down a bit, though.
It could be that the devices examined were running older versions of the Adups OTA software. But either way, Amazon seems to have determined that they’d like to continue selling the BLU phones again. Interested parties looking to pick up an inexpensive phone at Amazon can again scratch their budget-phone itch with BLU’s products.