Privacy is a hot topic for many people at the moment, what with the NSA PRISM scandal being brought to light and the fate of whistleblower Edward Snowden still up in the air. The smartphone community has dealt with its own fair share of privacy issues in the past, like the whole Carrier IQ debacle. Some newly-published analysis by a security researcher is now drawing Motorola’s actions into the spotlight, accusing the company of gathering an unacceptable level of data from its users.
On his personal site, Ben Lincoln outlines all the data he discovered his Motorola Droid X2 had been sending back home. The scope of what’s gathered appears vast, and includes sensitive information like login credentials in addition to actual files, like what you upload to photo-sharing services.
Motorola does disclose its gathering activities in various user agreements, but Lincoln both feels that Motorola isn’t being clear enough with the amount of user data it has access to, as well is concerned that the company appears to be exceeding its self-defined limits for what’s gathered in a few cases.
We should also point out that there aren’t really any clear signs here that Motorola might be up to no good, and it sort of just looks like it’s proxying a lot of communications through its own servers. That’s not to say that that isn’t a big privacy issue on its own, but just so it’s clear what we’re talking about.
At the moment, it’s not clear if all Motorola Androids behave in the same way, and while this exact behavior hasn’t been confirmed on other devices, early analysis does suggest that others are sending data back to Motorola in similar manners.