HTC Android Updates Turn Your Phone Into A Spy?
Yesterday saw attention return to the issue of how companies use your smartphone to gather data about you and your activities, with news of a lawsuit accusing Microsoft of surreptitiously gathering location data. HTC looks like it’s the next one to take the hot seat, after the discovery that recent updates to the EVO 3D and Sensation have the smartphones recording a host of information about your phone’s status.
Under the guise of “User Behavior Logging”, the new software for the HTC pair looks at things such as what apps you’ve installed, which you’ve been using, and builds statistics revealing how you use your Android. There’s some concern that carriers or HTC could be using this data to identify rooted devices, letting them deny warranty service, but no hard evidence supporting such claims.
Some digging-in to the new code has uncovered where this information goes, but since it’s to one of Amazon’s cloud servers, it’s hard to identify just what company is watching.
While all this may send privacy advocates into a tizzy, it’s not outside the range of surveillance you consented to in order to use the phone’s software, so technically HTC is on solid ground. Would it have been too much trouble to mention this added functionality in the release notes for the update that installed it, though, instead of hiding away any disclaimers where few users will read them?
Update: HTC’s made a statement regarding these claims.