Earlier this week Amazon suspended sales of some smartphones from BLU Products. The move came in response to concerns raised by security firm Kryptowire, which reported that some user data was being sent by software on those phones to servers in China without first obtaining permission from users.

But now Amazon is selling BLU phones again. So what changed? Not much, really. BLU just says it wasn’t doing anything wrong in the first place.

According to SlashGear, BLU makes a few arguments in its defense:

  1. BLU’s privacy policy (which you probably didn’t read) includes language stating that the company can “retain any personal identifiable information (“PII”) that it collects through our software while you have an active BLU device” and that you agree to allow it to be sent to “any country where this data is stored.”
  2. BLU is hardly the only company that does this.
  3. If you look at Kryptowire’s data, BLU phones send a lot less data than some others (the Chineee Cubot X16S sends browser history, call logs, text message metadata, and more, while the BLU Grand M and BLU Life One X2 do not… but they do sent IMEI, WiFi MAC address, device serial number, list of applications installed on the phone, phone number, and cell tower ID).

Another thing worth keeping in mind? The reason data is being sent to a Chines server is because BLU is using an over-the-air update service called Adups, which is based in China, and which allows some phone makers to request a lot of personal data from users’ phones. But after a related report from Kryptowire in 2016, BLU decided to start using Google’s OTA update service on newer devices.

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6 replies on “BLU phones return to Amazon following privacy scare”

  1. Has anyone gotten their Blu device updated, ever? I bought a Blu phone for my mom because she doesn’t need much, but she does need long battery life and the device I got offered that. Blu Energy something and it’s NEVER updated, so…meh. Going with Lenovo or Moto next with pure Android.

    1. Both Lenovo and Motorola are Chinese phones now… and they really are the sketchiest devices of known-brand names. Next comes HTC. A little better is LG and Samsung. SONY seems to be the most ethical brand-name phone provider… however, if you get a carrier branded model, it will be compromised.

      As bad as it sounds, Apple had it correct with their iron-fist to block out carrier involvement, and a safer and ethical form of data collection on their handsets. Not even Microsoft can say that with their Windows Phone 8 devices.

      1. I had a Blu Life One X2,firmware updated from them after first scandal then I flashed some partial ROM from github. I still get popup BLU ads maybe once a week or so… I’ll never buy one of theirs again and I’d love to flash this ROM completely off. Decent enough hardware. Will buy a made in Taiwan or Korea phone, never China again

    2. Several years ago I had a Blu Life Play. It upgraded from Jellybean to Kitkat. I got a couple of security updates too. It was a really good phone for the money at the time. I would not buy another one these days. Too may other good phones at reasonable prices from companies that have not had all the problems that Blu has had.

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