In the wake of the repeal of online privacy protections by Congress, Verizon has announced its intention to install spyware on android devices procured by customers suing its platform, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
Verizon is teaming up with startup, Evie, to launch the new tool on customers’ android devices.
AppFlash, an app launcher and web search tool, will be incorporated into Verizon Subscribers’ Android devices “in the coming weeks,” and seems to be a brazen display of disregard for the privacy and security of customers, contends the EFF.
“collect information about your device and your use of the AppFlash services. This information includes your mobile number, device identifiers, device type and operating system, and information about the AppFlash features and services you use and your interactions with them. We also access information about the list of apps you have on your device.”
Their location and contact information:
“AppFlash also collects information about your device’s precise location from your device operating system as well as contact information you store on your device.”
And promises to share with third parties for targeted advertising:
“AppFlash information may be shared within the Verizon family of companies, including companies like AOL who may use it to help provide more relevant advertising within the AppFlash experiences and in other places, including non-Verizon sites, services and devices.”
An app like AppFlash provides an expanded attack surface which hackers can probe for vulnerabilities, to use as a backdoor for launching attacks, said the EFF.