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(Washington Post)   The ACLU files a complaint with the FTC accusing major wireless carriers of deceptive practices for not updating customers Android phones to the latest version of the OS. Who knew having Jelly Bean was a basic civil right?   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 48
    More: Strange, jelly beans, Android Phone, unfair business practices, Federal Trade Commission, Android, ACLU, wireless carrier, file folders  
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1410 clicks; posted to Geek » on 17 Apr 2013 at 1:10 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-17 12:32:19 PM  
I know that upgrades on Android can be a pain, as a HTC android owner myself, but I also don't see the big deal. The phone you bought is still the same phone you bought. It still works. When Ford bring out a new engine in the 2013 Mustang do you complain that your 2012 Mustang still has the old engine? My phone was on ICS and I got the upgrade to JB. It was nice, a couple of features on the camera but that was about it. Had I been told I would not be getting the upgrade I'd have still been very happy with my fantastic phone that still did more than the iPhone.
 
2013-04-17 12:36:38 PM  
Can the ACLU tell me how this is a "civil liberties" issue? Or are they just going after the carriers as a way to make money thru lawyer fees?
 
2013-04-17 01:03:30 PM  

dj_bigbird: Can the ACLU tell me how this is a "civil liberties" issue? Or are they just going after the carriers as a way to make money thru lawyer fees?


Wireless carriers are engaging in practices known to expose customer phones to vulnerabilities by not aggressively pushing updates or providing the information.  Then upon those hacks, one can presume the customers either have to purchase new phones or end up on expensive service calls, etc.

That's my take on it anyway.
 
2013-04-17 01:13:44 PM  

Elandriel: dj_bigbird: Can the ACLU tell me how this is a "civil liberties" issue? Or are they just going after the carriers as a way to make money thru lawyer fees?

Wireless carriers are engaging in practices known to expose customer phones to vulnerabilities by not aggressively pushing updates or providing the information.  Then upon those hacks, one can presume the customers either have to purchase new phones or end up on expensive service calls, etc.

That's my take on it anyway.


I get that , but even I'm stumped at this becomes an issue of "civil liberties" though.   Bad business practices, sure, but civil rights?
 
2013-04-17 01:14:18 PM  
We're developing an Android application for my database class project. We're having to download the correct version of the SDK for the correct version of Android. It won't work on a number of devices.

Android's version (and thus, development) sprawl is a farking disaster. Microsoft may not have updated phones to Windows Phone 8 but at least gave an intermediate version (7.8) to hold over customers... and it's far less of a PITA to develop for.
 
2013-04-17 01:14:39 PM  

Elandriel: dj_bigbird: Can the ACLU tell me how this is a "civil liberties" issue? Or are they just going after the carriers as a way to make money thru lawyer fees?

Wireless carriers are engaging in practices known to expose customer phones to vulnerabilities by not aggressively pushing updates or providing the information.  Then upon those hacks, one can presume the customers either have to purchase new phones or end up on expensive service calls, etc.

That's my take on it anyway.


Probably that and the myriad of other anti-competitive/anti-consumer practices that wireless carriers are known for.  This might just be the lowest hanging fruit
 
2013-04-17 01:20:24 PM  
iPhone users seen being smug in the corner.

/iPhone user...
 
2013-04-17 01:26:31 PM  

Flint Ironstag: I know that upgrades on Android can be a pain, as a HTC android owner myself, but I also don't see the big deal. The phone you bought is still the same phone you bought. It still works. When Ford bring out a new engine in the 2013 Mustang do you complain that your 2012 Mustang still has the old engine? My phone was on ICS and I got the upgrade to JB. It was nice, a couple of features on the camera but that was about it. Had I been told I would not be getting the upgrade I'd have still been very happy with my fantastic phone that still did more than the iPhone.


If that 2012 Mustang has a recall in five years, you'll be notified by Ford and the issue will be resolved.
 
2013-04-17 01:27:52 PM  
Root.

How farking hard is it?

/My Moto Droid 1 is running JB.
 
2013-04-17 01:29:37 PM  

Magorn: Elandriel: dj_bigbird: Can the ACLU tell me how this is a "civil liberties" issue? Or are they just going after the carriers as a way to make money thru lawyer fees?

Wireless carriers are engaging in practices known to expose customer phones to vulnerabilities by not aggressively pushing updates or providing the information.  Then upon those hacks, one can presume the customers either have to purchase new phones or end up on expensive service calls, etc.

That's my take on it anyway.

I get that , but even I'm stumped at this becomes an issue of "civil liberties" though.   Bad business practices, sure, but civil rights?


bhcompy: Probably that and the myriad of other anti-competitive/anti-consumer practices that wireless carriers are known for. This might just be the lowest hanging fruit


That, and privacy concerns, I'd think...
 
2013-04-17 01:31:59 PM  

Im_Gumby: Root.

How farking hard is it?

/My Moto Droid 1 is running JB.


The average user is not going to root.
 
2013-04-17 01:32:09 PM  

Flint Ironstag: I know that upgrades on Android can be a pain, as a HTC android owner myself, but I also don't see the big deal. The phone you bought is still the same phone you bought. It still works. When Ford bring out a new engine in the 2013 Mustang do you complain that your 2012 Mustang still has the old engine? My phone was on ICS and I got the upgrade to JB. It was nice, a couple of features on the camera but that was about it. Had I been told I would not be getting the upgrade I'd have still been very happy with my fantastic phone that still did more than the iPhone.


How about they find a security flaw in the version of Sync running in your 2012 Mustang, and Ford's response is "time to upgrade your car to a 2013"? It's not new features they're biatching about, it's old security holes that aren't getting fixed.
 
2013-04-17 01:37:34 PM  

Elandriel: dj_bigbird: Can the ACLU tell me how this is a "civil liberties" issue? Or are they just going after the carriers as a way to make money thru lawyer fees?

Wireless carriers are engaging in practices known to expose customer phones to vulnerabilities by not aggressively pushing updates or providing the information.  Then upon those hacks, one can presume the customers either have to purchase new phones or end up on expensive service calls, etc.

That's my take on it anyway.


I believe there's another element involved.  Newer versions of Android give the owner of the phone my control over their property and the carrier less.  The carriers don't like that.
 
2013-04-17 01:41:31 PM  
Droid Razr M, running Jelly Bean here.  It's awesome. No problems with Verizon, either.
I'll take this over iPhone any day.
 
2013-04-17 02:02:08 PM  
S2 running Jellybean, carrier update...
 
2013-04-17 02:26:06 PM  
Nail 'em, with my blessing. Some people here have been commenting, snarkily, that 'I didn't know having the latest version was a civil right'. OK, so maybe this should be pursued by the Federal Trade Commission instead of the ACLU, point. But I'm glad *someone* is after them.

Two years ago, I bought a Motorola Photon 4G, at the time, one of the most advanced smartphones out there. It came with Android 2.3.4. All during 2012, Motorola kept promising me that I would be upgraded to 4.0 during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Fourth quarter rolls around, they change their story to 'How about never? Does never getting another system upgrade work for you? No? Too bad.'

Then they have to gall to try and sell me another Motorola phone. My reply? 'How about Never? Does Never again selling me a product work for you?'

Nail them to the wall.
 
2013-04-17 02:36:59 PM  
Good, somebody needs to hold their feet to the fire on this. There are countless stories of carriers ignoring the fact that by not fixing security holes (through official updates or some kind of OTA patch) they are exposing their customers to risks in security which could have far reaching affects depending on how much is on their phones. It's not about new features, it's about making sure that the product you bought doesn't leave you vulnerable to outside malicious forces.

Even beyond that though, there are many cases of phones that are missing features but the carriers simply ignore that because it would require work and OTA patching. Many times customers will hear, "Oh, that will be fixed in the next OTA update." but that update never comes. It's cancelled when the carrier realized that if they just delay long enough, people will get tired of waiting and buy another phone.
 
2013-04-17 02:43:05 PM  
The carriers/manufacturers really have no incentive to upgrade. After all, that costs them quite a bit of cash, and you're already locked into their contract.

So what's the benefit for them?
 
2013-04-17 02:44:53 PM  
The phone company providing the update may not be a civil right...but the ability to do it yourself should be.
 
2013-04-17 02:48:20 PM  
Huh. That's interesting. I have a Motorola Droid 2 that's 3-4 years old still running 2.2. Every time I try to update it, (the update it tries to install now is 4.5.601) it downloads the update then shiats itself when it comes to actually installing. I never understood why and I'm too lazy/stupid to root and it seems to work fine otherwise. It would be nice if I could get it updated.
 
2013-04-17 02:49:51 PM  

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: Nail 'em, with my blessing. Some people here have been commenting, snarkily, that 'I didn't know having the latest version was a civil right'. OK, so maybe this should be pursued by the Federal Trade Commission instead of the ACLU, point. But I'm glad *someone* is after them.

Two years ago, I bought a Motorola Photon 4G, at the time, one of the most advanced smartphones out there. It came with Android 2.3.4. All during 2012, Motorola kept promising me that I would be upgraded to 4.0 during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Fourth quarter rolls around, they change their story to 'How about never? Does never getting another system upgrade work for you? No? Too bad.'

Then they have to gall to try and sell me another Motorola phone. My reply? 'How about Never? Does Never again selling me a product work for you?'

Nail them to the wall.


Same happened with my Xperia Play. It's the only one in the Xperia line that is not getting a 4.x update.
 
2013-04-17 02:49:56 PM  

Mcavity: The phone company providing the update may not be a civil right...but the ability to do it yourself should be.


1. Release phone with current OS.
2. Lock it down so it can't be updated by the owner.
3. Pass laws making it illegal to jailbreak your phone.
4. PROFIT (by forcing people to get a new phone instead of upgrading their existing one).
 
2013-04-17 02:53:23 PM  

RedPhoenix122: Same happened with my Xperia Play. It's the only one in the Xperia line that is not getting a 4.x update.


I have the Xperia TL. A couple of weeks ago it did an update and lost all my settings, including my corporate email account.  Since it's a work phone, I haven't bothered to take it to the company phone guy to fix that problem since I don't give a shiat if I get company email during off hours.

What kind of idiot update wipes all the user settings?
 
2013-04-17 03:00:14 PM  

OgreMagi: What kind of idiot update wipes all the user settings?


It's Sony, it's probably just a bug that deletes the user accounts instead of merely making them vulnerable to hackers.
 
2013-04-17 03:03:27 PM  

Flint Ironstag: I know that upgrades on Android can be a pain, as a HTC android owner myself, but I also don't see the big deal. The phone you bought is still the same phone you bought. It still works. When Ford bring out a new engine in the 2013 Mustang do you complain that your 2012 Mustang still has the old engine? My phone was on ICS and I got the upgrade to JB. It was nice, a couple of features on the camera but that was about it. Had I been told I would not be getting the upgrade I'd have still been very happy with my fantastic phone that still did more than the iPhone.


It's funny you should mention Mustangs specifically, because yes...that actually happened.  When Ford announced the return of the 5.0.  It was hilarious.

But I'm with Subby on this one.  WTF is the ACLU doing in this fight?  The EFF, or any other consumer/security organization, sure.  But the freaking ACLU?  I buy their position that they only pick and choose which Constitutional rights to defend based on what's already being represented or infringed at any given time.  Well, I did, until right farking now.  Unless, that is, they are specifically trying to fight the DMCA to allow users to install the updates on their own, because the DMCA is actually an issue the ACLU should be fighting constantly until it's dead.

/DNRTFA
//this is Fark, after all
 
rpm
2013-04-17 03:03:50 PM  

MrEricSir: The carriers/manufacturers really have no incentive to upgrade. After all, that costs them quite a bit of cash, and you're already locked into their contract.

So what's the benefit for them?


It's not just that. I'm with a contractless carrier. My wife and I have identical phones. We're both "up to date". They're running different versions.
 
2013-04-17 03:16:21 PM  

Kuroshin: Flint Ironstag: I know that upgrades on Android can be a pain, as a HTC android owner myself, but I also don't see the big deal. The phone you bought is still the same phone you bought. It still works. When Ford bring out a new engine in the 2013 Mustang do you complain that your 2012 Mustang still has the old engine? My phone was on ICS and I got the upgrade to JB. It was nice, a couple of features on the camera but that was about it. Had I been told I would not be getting the upgrade I'd have still been very happy with my fantastic phone that still did more than the iPhone.

It's funny you should mention Mustangs specifically, because yes...that actually happened.  When Ford announced the return of the 5.0.  It was hilarious.

But I'm with Subby on this one.  WTF is the ACLU doing in this fight?  The EFF, or any other consumer/security organization, sure.  But the freaking ACLU?  I buy their position that they only pick and choose which Constitutional rights to defend based on what's already being represented or infringed at any given time.  Well, I did, until right farking now.  Unless, that is, they are specifically trying to fight the DMCA to allow users to install the updates on their own, because the DMCA is actually an issue the ACLU should be fighting constantly until it's dead.

/DNRTFA
//this is Fark, after all


I think it's a stretch for the ACLU, but I can sort of see where they are going.  If the government and corporations conspire to take away your rights to do as you please with your own property, it can be  argued that it is a civil rights issue.
 
2013-04-17 04:09:58 PM  

Im_Gumby: Root.

How farking hard is it?

/My Moto Droid 1 is running JB.


and it is now illegal to root your own phone, so not only are you violating your ToS with your carrier but you are also breaking a law by doing so.
 
2013-04-17 04:48:06 PM  
Having resolved all more pressing civil rights cases...
 
2013-04-17 05:21:59 PM  
What gets me is when brand new phones come out with older OS versions.
 
2013-04-17 05:37:24 PM  

Elandriel: dj_bigbird: Can the ACLU tell me how this is a "civil liberties" issue? Or are they just going after the carriers as a way to make money thru lawyer fees?

Wireless carriers are engaging in practices known to expose customer phones to vulnerabilities by not aggressively pushing updates or providing the information.  Then upon those hacks, one can presume the customers either have to purchase new phones or end up on expensive service calls, etc.

That's my take on it anyway.


And they dont want to update to an os which will allow customers to delete bloatware
 
2013-04-17 06:02:48 PM  
What's ridiculous about the whole android versions is that if the carriers and manufacturers just put straight android on the phones it wouldn't be anywhere near the problem to update.  But no, it's gotta be sense, blur, etc.  Give the users plain android they'll be happier and you can update whenever something new comes along.
 
2013-04-17 06:10:38 PM  
Certain phones (HTC for one IIRC) came with tracking software/spyware on them from the manufacturer that was, of course, exploitable for someone other than the manufacturer and carrier to track you.

That's a privacy issue, and it's the fault of the manufacturer for playing the "let's track everyone!" game, and the carrier for being in on it.
 
2013-04-17 06:20:37 PM  
Biggest thing I can think of to hope for here is it just removes the carriers from having *any* input or tinkering on the software on the phone. Let the company that writes software write it, let manufacturers tailor it to their particular devices, and let the carriers stfu and provide a network to talk on.
 
2013-04-17 06:24:55 PM  

Dr. Goldshnoz: Biggest thing I can think of to hope for here is it just removes the carriers from having *any* input or tinkering on the software on the phone. Let the company that writes software write it, let manufacturers tailor it to their particular devices, and let the carriers stfu and provide a network to talk on.


The carriers own too many senators for that to ever happen.
 
2013-04-17 07:35:57 PM  
To protect freedom we need to make sure no one is doing business differently than Apple.
 
2013-04-17 09:15:36 PM  

BizarreMan: What's ridiculous about the whole android versions is that if the carriers and manufacturers just put straight android on the phones it wouldn't be anywhere near the problem to update.  But no, it's gotta be sense, blur, etc.  Give the users plain android they'll be happier and you can update whenever something new comes along.



Isn't that the raison d'être for Google Phone?
 
2013-04-17 09:38:20 PM  
I'd prefer ice cream sandwich. With banana flavored ice cream

/it's in the 85th amendment
 
2013-04-17 09:39:32 PM  

cannotsuggestaname: Im_Gumby: Root.

How farking hard is it?

/My Moto Droid 1 is running JB.

and it is now illegal to root your own phone, so not only are you violating your ToS with your carrier but you are also breaking a law by doing so.


What?
Are you confused by the recent phone unlocking discussions in the news?

Rooting may void your warranty, but it's hard to imagine that it's become illegal.
 
2013-04-17 09:42:46 PM  

Don Piano: Rooting may void your warranty, but it's hard to imagine that it's become illegal.


Unlocking your phone is now illegal without your carriers permission.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57572492-94/what-the-dmca-cell-phon e- unlock-ban-means-to-you-faq/
 
2013-04-17 09:46:57 PM  

Flint Ironstag: I know that upgrades on Android can be a pain, as a HTC android owner myself, but I also don't see the big deal. The phone you bought is still the same phone you bought. It still works. When Ford bring out a new engine in the 2013 Mustang do you complain that your 2012 Mustang still has the old engine? My phone was on ICS and I got the upgrade to JB. It was nice, a couple of features on the camera but that was about it. Had I been told I would not be getting the upgrade I'd have still been very happy with my fantastic phone that still did more than the iPhone.




I have had multiple vehicles that were repaired significantly outside the warranty period for safety recalls. This hapens all the time.

Your analogy fails.
 
2013-04-17 10:39:58 PM  

OgreMagi: Don Piano: Rooting may void your warranty, but it's hard to imagine that it's become illegal.

Unlocking your phone is now illegal without your carriers permission.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57572492-94/what-the-dmca-cell-phon e- unlock-ban-means-to-you-faq/


Gaining root access to the operating system has nothing to do with "unlocking" the device's carrier relationship.
 
2013-04-17 10:52:57 PM  

Flint Ironstag: I know that upgrades on Android can be a pain, as a HTC android owner myself, but I also don't see the big deal. The phone you bought is still the same phone you bought. It still works. When Ford bring out a new engine in the 2013 Mustang do you complain that your 2012 Mustang still has the old engine? My phone was on ICS and I got the upgrade to JB. It was nice, a couple of features on the camera but that was about it. Had I been told I would not be getting the upgrade I'd have still been very happy with my fantastic phone that still did more than the iPhone.


Tell that to my bricked Thunderbolt.  They finally released the version of android that fixed crippling crashes.  That version had been available for over a year.
 
2013-04-17 11:08:39 PM  

jjorsett: BizarreMan: What's ridiculous about the whole android versions is that if the carriers and manufacturers just put straight android on the phones it wouldn't be anywhere near the problem to update.  But no, it's gotta be sense, blur, etc.  Give the users plain android they'll be happier and you can update whenever something new comes along.


Isn't that the raison d'être for Google Phone?


So far the os hasn't been an issue for me because the hardware and software seem to be keeping pace.

So I upgraded from single core running 2.1 to a quad core running 4.1.

This is no different from my son's iPod touch gen 2, which won't run the os and many apps that his gen 4 does.


So some of the whining about android and os updates is misplaced. You can root and run jelly bean but its not always worth it on an old phone.
 
2013-04-18 03:31:24 AM  

Kuroshin: Unless, that is, they are specifically trying to fight the DMCA to allow users to install the updates on their own, because the DMCA is actually an issue the ACLU should be fighting constantly until it's dead.


That's part of what they're fighting for -- not for force carriers to create updates, but to allow people to install updates that already exist and are compatible with the device. Another aspect is that this disproportionately affects low-end consumers; rich people can have privacy and security and protection from virus-based data usage (by buying a new phone) while poor people do not have that option. Safe access to communications  is a civil right, and currently mobile phones are far and away the most common way for people to access public communications systems.
 
2013-04-18 08:15:43 AM  
What I would like to know is why the ruling that Verizon can't charge extra for tethering any more doesn't apply to all carriers, and why they can still ding our minutes for incoming calls that are hang-ups or spam.
 
2013-04-18 08:31:53 AM  

macdaddy357: What I would like to know is why the ruling that Verizon can't charge extra for tethering any more doesn't apply to all carriers, and why they can still ding our minutes for incoming calls that are hang-ups or spam.


Because f*ck you, that's why.

That seems to be their attitude.
 
2013-04-18 10:15:31 AM  

farker99: iPhone users seen being smug in the corner.

/iPhone user...


Meanwhile, Microsoft seen hoping and praying someone finally realizes that security is Android's achilles heel and buys Windows Phone devices instead, which it  swears will be upgradable, unlike all the previous generations...
 
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