FTC and FCC launch probe of mobile manufacturers and carriers’ security update practices
When not busy trying to force Apple’s hand to needlessly undermine its own mobile OS encryption and device security, the US government occasionally gets a half-decent idea of actually acting in the service of the people.
Case in point, a joint FTC/FCC examination of the way smartphone and tablet manufacturers, as well as wireless operators stateside, look for, identify and ultimately address vulnerabilities in products designed by them or supported on their networks.
Though the two independent government agencies are in this together, the Federal Trade Commission aims to “better understand” the security update practices of Apple, BlackBerry, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola and Samsung, with the Federal Communications Commission alternatively asking carriers the delicate questions about “their processes for reviewing and releasing security updates for mobile devices.”
Notice that neither bureau brings up the word “investigation”, emphasizing they merely want to help the end user by providing insight on possibly improving bug-fixing actions and response times. But make no mistake, this isn’t a friendly inquiry (not sure if that’s a thing, anyway), and we wouldn’t be surprised if sanctions were ultimately imposed on certain sluggish OEMs and carriers.
Probably not Google or Samsung, which have recently adopted a strict monthly security update policy, and companies like Apple and Microsoft should also be safe, as they bypass operators and handle software support themselves with very frequent minor and major makeovers.
Then there’s BlackBerry, widely regarded as a champion of security and privacy, even if when all is said and done, everyone has its flaws. Stagefright, older products left in the dust, bizarre iOS date glitches, and so on and so forth.