Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt reports:
For about $50, you can get a smartphone with a high-definition display, fast data service and, according to security contractors, a secret feature: a backdoor that sends all your text messages to China every 72 hours.
Security contractors recently discovered preinstalled software in some Android phones that monitors where users go, whom they talk to and what they write in text messages. The American authorities say it is not clear whether this represents secretive data mining for advertising purposes or a Chinese government effort to collect intelligence.
Read more on the New York Times.
The timing of this piece was perfect for me, as just yesterday, I was searching for an app and realized once again that we generally have no idea what is on our phones or where it might be transmitting our data. Yes, this NYT article isn’t about an app that you might download – it’s about preinstalled software – but the issue remains: can we have any confidence that our private information or communications on phones stays private?
If you haven’t done so already and are concerned about privacy and/or surveillance, do install Signal by Open Whisper Systems on your phone and your desktop. I don’t generally make recommendations for products or services on my sites, and of course, I may find out things down the road that make it a poor recommendation, but for now, I rely, in part, on Signal to help protect my phone calls and text messages.