ACLU Asks Government to Investigate Phone Carriers Over Android Security Threat

The American Civil Liberties Union asked the FTC on Wednesday to investigate AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile for unfair and deceptive business practices stemming from their failure to provide available security patches for the Android operating system running on phones and for failing to inform consumers that their systems are unpatched and vulnerable to attack.

“A significant number of consumers are using smartphones running a version of the Android operating system with known, exploitable security vulnerabilities for which fixes have been published by Google, but have not been distributed to consumers’ smartphones by the wireless carriers and their handset manufacturer partners,” the ACLU writes in its 16-page complaint (.pdf). “There are millions of vulnerable Android phones in the hands of consumers today because wireless phone carriers and phone hardware makers refuse to transmit existing software security fixes to phones in a timely manner, according to a security researcher.”