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Smartphone security updates

Smartphones have become an integral part of our everyday lives. We use them for everything, from phone calls to social media and banking, so knowing your private data is secure is very important. Software updates are crucial to smartphone security. Out-of-date software makes devices vulnerable to cyber criminals who misuse it to steal personal data or install malware. However the updating of software on Android smartphones is currently very inconsistent, creating an unsafe situation for phone users.

THE 'UPDATE!' CAMPAIGN

In July 2015, our Dutch member, Consumentenbond, launched its ‘Update!’ campaign to convince manufacturers of Android smartphones to make software updates available for at least two years after purchase.

They focused the campaign on Samsung. As the undisputed market leader for Android smartphones in the Netherlands, Samsung was clearly putting Dutch consumers at risk.

Taking court action

Consumentenbond first summoned Samsung to court in February 2016, challenging its defective software update policy for Android smartphones. Unfortunately, the court was unable to issue a ruling, deeming the issue too complex. Undeterred, Consumentenbond summoned Samsung back to court later that year, with a much more extensive case for them to answer. Consumentenbond demanded that Samsung keep its smartphones secure by providing Android updates in good time, claiming that by failing to do this so far, Samsung had created an unsafe situation for consumers. 

 

 

 

They showed Samsung was providing insufficient information about software updates when buying Samsung Android devices. They also argued that Samsung was acting unlawfully by not providing updates, or providing them late, for many of its smartphones. 

They want Samsung to commit to:

  • making updates available for at least two years after a smartphone is purchased, or for four years after it has been placed on the market
  • providing clear and unambiguous information about security updates to customers.

Samsung is not the only manufacturer of Android smartphones that is lax about updating their devices. Consumentenbond plan to use the judgement in these proceedings against Samsung to push for a sound update policy for all manufacturers.

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