Thanks to repeal of FCC online privacy rules, Android phones on Verizon will soon come with pre-installed spyware called Appflash
Soon, every Verizon user on Android will have a new online privacy concern that they need to be aware of – pre-installed spyware called Appflash. This week, Verizon announced their intentions to release a default, pre-installed new search experience for their Android users. In the next few weeks, the telecom will roll out a Google search bar replacement that sends information on your searches and app usage to Verizon instead of Google. The Verizon-supported CTIA lobbied the FCC and has previously claimed that web browsing history and mobile app usage information are not considered sensitive information. The speed with which telecoms have pounced on the lack of FCC online privacy regulations after this week’s 215-205 vote is shocking.
Verizon’s new Appflash is pre-installed spyware
Verizon is working with the creators of app launcher Evie Launcher, Evie, to create Appflash. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) had stark words for Verizon, calling their move the First Horseman of the Privacy Apocalypse:
“Verizon should immediately abandon its plans to monitor its customers’ behaviors, and do what it’s paid to do: deliver quality Internet service without spying on users.”
In America, it seems that the Privacy Apocalypse is upon us. Unfortunately, that isn’t the only terror that Verizon is potentially unleashing on its customers by forcing this app down their throats. Security is a risk as well because of the vast reach of the app in terms of installs and access. Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing pointed out:
The policy goes on to describe Appflash’s intentions to also track your location and contact information. Just as predicted, the telecoms have started to drag us down the slippery slope of online privacy degradation. President Trump still hasn’t signed S.J.Res. 34, Private Internet Access asks that he must veto S.J.Res. 34. Such a strong move would stop anti-privacy and profit-grabbing actions from telecoms and inevitably ISPs as well. This is a Privacy Apocalypse – and it’s time to adapt. If the government won’t protect your online privacy, you’ll just have to do so yourself. All is not lost though, some state governments, like Minnesota, have taken moves to enact their own online privacy rules.