Cheap Android phones caught sending user data to Chinese servers
In 2015, security contractors at Kryptowire discovered that some cheap Android phones came with pre-installed software that monitors where users go, whom they communicate with and the contents of the text messages they write. Written by the China-based company Shanghai Adups Technology Company, the software transmitted call logs, contact lists, location information, and other data to a Chinese server. Its presence was not notified to users. The company explained that the software was not intended for American phones but was intended to help an unidentified Chinese manufacturer that wanted to be able to store the data in order to improve filtering of junk text messages and phone calls.
The story shows the importance of securing every step along the supply chain if privacy is to be protected, and also looks at one of the ways Chinese companies and their government can monitor user behaviour.
Writer: Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt
Publication: New York Times