Samsung in court over pre-installed apps

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Last month Facebook had a case in court over allegations of breaching privacy rules. Last week Samsung was taken to court in China over the software it loads in its phones. A Chinese consumer protection group launched the legal action over the default apps or “bloatware” found on Samsung phones.

The Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court said on Wednesday it had accepted separate cases against Tianjin Samsung Telecommunications Technology Co Ltd and Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Co Ltd.

” Many people did not want the software and added that the firm made it hard to remove the applications.” The Chinese consumer protection group said.

The Shanghai Consumer Council also filed a similar case against Chinese phone-maker Oppo.

“We were motivated to start the legal action following a growing number of complaints about pre-installed apps. Most people had complained because of the space the apps took up and because they ate into data allowances when they were updated.” The council said.

Read: Facebook in Court over allegations that it broke privacy rules

Results from a study carried out by the council said a standard Galaxy Note 3 could contain 44 pre-installed programs that could not be removed or were hard to disable. One Oppo phone tested by the council was found to have 47 apps that could not be uninstalled.

The apps installed on the Samsung model included an electronic dictionary and an online shopping program. The Oppo model came complete with various games and other programs, the commission said. Neither company informed buyers of the presence of the apps, which infringed the consumers’ rights to know, it said.

“The litigation is our latest attempt to safeguard consumers’ rights after other methods failed,” Tao Ailian, secretary general of the council said.

“We hope it will force other companies in the sector to end the unreasonable, but common, practice of pre-installing apps without telling consumers. This is something that is very much necessary for the healthy development of the whole industry,” he said.

The legal action aims to make the two phone-makers put in place systems that let people remove the apps easily and warn them about what they get when they buy a new phone. Reports BBC.

In the legal action, the commission is seeking a ruling that would make Samsung and Oppo legally obliged to make clear on the packaging of their smartphones what apps have been installed and also to provide instructions on how they can be removed. The framework of public interest litigation is designed to make it easier for organizations to pursue legal action against big businesses on behalf of individuals or groups of citizens, said local lawyer Jiang Xian.

In a statement, Samsung said: “We have not yet received the formal complaint filed by the Shanghai Consumer Council.

“We will thoroughly review the court document and determine an appropriate response,” it added.

 

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Erick Vateta
Tech Editor at Kachwanya.com
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Erick Vateta is a lawyer by training, poet, script and creative writer by talent, a model, and tech enthusiast. He covers International tech trends, data security and cyber attacks.
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