Budget smartphones are poorly protected

A few years ago the US government tried to get Apple to build iPhone tool to bypass the security system. The company declined. But many manufacturers of budget phones hold different views.

A Privacy International study revealed that many of the cheap smartphones are sold with pre-installed applications. Examples of such services are Pinoy (contains news, podcasts and thematic content), Facebook Lite (a reduced version of the Facebook app), AccuWeather (weather forecast), GMobi and Adups (both have been caught in serious breaches of security in the last few years).

In particular, the study looked at smartphone myA2, released in December 2017 Filipino company MyPhone. It is equipped with a 4-inch screen, Quad core processor, camera 5 MP, 3G support and Android 6.0 Marshmallow. In the Philippines this device can be bought for around $30.

However, in the myA2 is preset with prilojeniya that have expanded access to user data. They cannot be updated or deleted, that is at presence in them of vulnerabilities to protect against leaks will not work.

Smartphones with pre-installed applications becomes more

In may 2019 Cornell University conducted the first large-scale study of pre-installed applications on Android devices, having examined the phones from 200 suppliers.

Scientists have noted that third-party developers began to pay producers for the preset programs. It turned out that they often contain potentially malicious code and is especially prevalent in low-cost smartphones. The findings stated that “the supply chain for Android devices open source lacks transparency, and it helps to committing a potentially dangerous action and obtaining access to personal data of users without their consent”.

Android cannot avoid responsibility — MyPhone is a certified partner of this OS, and therefore must adhere to the same standards as other manufacturers. Installing potentially dangerous third-party apps undermines the credibility of the brand and poses a risk to the user.

Privacy is expensive

Completely safe smartphones no, but some people are trying to protect your data in all possible ways, and they spend a lot of money.

From the Purism Librem 5 running GNU + Linux and recently became available for purchase within the crowdsourcing campaign. This smartphone costs $699. Unlike the vast majority of devices, it is not included with Android or iOS. Instead, Librem 5 uses completely open source software, known as PureOS — Linux distribution, officially approved non-profit organization Free Software Foundation. In this case Purism says it will provide updates for the lifetime operation of the gadget. However, the impressive price tag — Librem 5 is 23 times more expensive than myA2 — makes this smartphone available to many.

Photo: Purism

People no longer worry about the safety of personal data

Companies care about profits and not about privacy and sharing personal data has become so familiar to users that most of them pay little attention to what agree by subscribing to the new service.

Centre of media studies, inequality and changes in the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study entitled “Mobile phones, security and social capital”, in which he explored people’s attitudes to violations of privacy. It turned out that “almost all the study participants shared stories of refusal of data protection, which the authors consider as one of basic human rights in exchange for access to online services and platforms.”

“I don’t care whether they do it. I can’t stop it. I have no money you can steal, but if it happens, I’ll be fine,” — said study participant Sean.

We are too much worried about privacy?

It is believed that people are too concerned about data protection, and in fact they are not wanted, and should give up part of security measures to make life more convenient.

But personal data is used not only for advertising. They can apply to borrow more money for a particular person interested in the goods or change the search results. In addition, possible tracking of Internet communication.

Information collected the car, but ultimately access to it people get. One need not look far to find the privacy breach.

The Chinese government is using smartphones to monitor ethnic minority

For many years the Uighurs are faced with increasing repression in China, a country with one of the most severe Internet restrictions in the world. In particular, the Chinese government has long followed the Uighurs with apps, including WeChat (data for the second quarter of 2019, he has over 1.13 billion active users per month), which allowed the police to check their actions and whereabouts.

It is because of this technology, some Uighurs were arrested for “suspicious behavior”, and then sent to an educational camp in which, according to sources, grossly violated human rights.

Providing companies with access to personal data associated with the risk of creating the snowball effect. The argument “I have nothing to hide, so I have no reason for concern” may seem reasonable now, but in the long run all actions on the Internet can be turned against us.

Privacy policy in developing countries is increasingly under threat

In August 2019, the organization for the analysis of global risks, Verisk Maplecroft has released a report which revealed “a significant increase” in the number of countries that have “extreme risk” in maintaining the rights to privacy and freedom of expression. According to the researchers, threatened the rights of approximately 3.38 billion people — almost half the world’s population.

In January, officials Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas, Penales y Criminalísticas (CICPC) is the largest national police Agency of Venezuela — reported that they need to support the Bolivarian government. They warned that people who supported the opposition in social networks, will be dismissed.

In may, Uganda was suspended from work, 39 journalists, trying to prevent them from covering the activities of opposition parties.

During the year, journalists and activists in Mozambique have been threatened, many of which were sent in SMS.

In August, the offices of Huawei in Zambia and Uganda fired because it turned out that the employees of the company helped the local government with espionage.

In September, the platform for digital lending in Kenya has undergone a thorough inspection, as he drove in even more debt thousands of users, selling their data.

Ahead of elections in 2018, the government of Hun Sen, Cambodia has taken harsh measures against freedom of speech. The result was extreme online surveillance, in which all Internet traffic passed through the state center of data management. People were arrested and even prosecuted for expressing their opinions.

Personal data protection should not worry users

Smartphone manufacturers have a duty to protect their customers. Cheap devices should not mean a loss of access to basic rights.

However, more and more studies show that the company is not able to protect their data — especially when it comes to cloud storage. Business, including such large, as Microsoft still violates the General data protection regulations (GDPR) — act on the data collection of the European Union, which entered into force in 2018.

If companies do not comply with these requirements, the government must intervene and act in the interests of citizens who are in this situation feel helpless.

The data protection laws “do not go far enough”

Edward Snowden the man who revealed the secret documents of the national security Agency in 2013. In a recent interview with Forbes, he said that international laws designed to protect citizens from collecting and storing their data in private companies, “do not go far enough”.

“If you create an enduring power, regardless of whether it is Facebook or anyone else, the question is how we can control the manifestations of this power, when used against society, and not in his best interest?” — said Snowden.


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