ACLU: Slow smartphone updates are privacy threat

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Associated Press

Posted on April 17, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 17 at 11:07 AM

LONDON (AP) — One of the leading U.S. civil-rights organizations is taking on an unusual cause: spotty smartphone updates.

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to investigate what it considers a failure by U.S. wireless carriers to properly update the Google-built operating system used on Android phones. The ACLU says that sluggish fixes have been saddling many smartphone users with software that is out of date and therefore dangerous.

Experts and government officials have long warned that failing to fix known security flaws gives hackers opportunities to steal data or use the devices to launch larger attacks.

The complaint, filed Tuesday, accused U.S. carriers of ignoring those warnings. Carriers deny delays in the updates. Verizon says updates must go through "rigorous testing."

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