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Alcatel Come Out Swinging After Arch Rivals ZTE & Huawei Caught With Spyware

Alcatel the third largest mobile brand in Australia, has come out swinging after both ZTE and Huewei were caught using third part Chinese servers to strip information from mobile phones.

Alcatel claims that they not only don’t use third party servers to update smartphones, they also don’t use Adups the Chinese Company who openly strip millions of phones of confidential data including text messages and contact details.

The stripping of data every 72 hours was discovered by Kryptowire on ZTE and Huawei snartphones, they are an organisation that was funded by the US, Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS S&T).

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Sam Skontos, VP and Regional MD South-east Asia and Pacific for Alcatel Australia’s #3 mobile brand said that Alcatel and its parent company, TCT Mobile, has no relationship with Adups and has no such firmware on any of its devices. Further, Alcatel/TCT Mobile conducts their Firmware Over The Air (FOTA) updates through its own in-house servers, not through third party suppliers.

"We are clean" claims Alcatel boss

“We are clean” claims Alcatel boss

He added “It is a sad day when we are talking about spyware on devices and the fact that some global companies think it’s OK to take security and privacy away from consumers”.

“This is just another example of how some Chinese manufacturers enter markets, do not disclose this type of activity to anyone including industry stakeholders, show no regard whatsoever for consumer security and privacy laws, until of course they are caught out. Firmware updates may be issued but the damage has been done, and questions need to be asked about why this was on their handsets in the first place”

He added “It proves that consumers are right to be ever-vigilant about their personal information. It’s also an important opportunity for consumers to ask questions, and for all industry stakeholders to do more to ensure consumer privacy is protected above all else. More questions need to be asked, and when these issues are found out, more needs to be done to hold to account companies who deceive consumers”.

He warned “Do not tar all Chinese companies with the same brush. Alcatel has a significant local presence and works hard to localise every single device. You will not find any such spyware on our devices because we respect our customers and the right to strictly protect their privacy and security.

We have seen around the world the potential for everyday consumers to make a difference, from world politics to more everyday matters. They can send a clear message to the companies conducting their business like this. Consumers should be worried, but they should also be able to more easily identify the manufacturer of their handset, which may be different to the consumer branding on the handset itself.

The responses so far from those companies named in global media reports should only worry consumers and authorities more.”