Amazon pulled devices made by US-based smartphone vendor Blu Products following renewed reports of privacy issues.

Blu’s products are listed as “currently unavailable” on the online retail giant’s US site, although they are still available for sale in the UK. Devices from the vendor have previously featured as Amazon Prime Phones, sold at a discount in return for displaying ads on the lock screen.

According to CNET, Amazon said: “Because security and privacy of our customers is of the utmost importance, all Blu phone models have been made unavailable for purchase on until the issue is resolved.”

Late last month, it was reported analysts at Kryptowire had found continued use of “spying software” on smartphones, which sent data to servers in China. Apparently, the software from Shanghai Adups Technology was in place on “at least three different phones”, including Blu’s Advance 5.0.

Kryptowire first said it had identified devices using the software – including smartphones from Blu – in November 2016. Information transmitted included unique device identifiers, the full body of text messages, contact lists and call history.

Standard function
In a response to the recent reports, Blu said it had in the first instance “moved quickly and resolved the problem” by having Adups turn off the functionality, before migrating away from Adups for later devices.

It said using Adups, which is a “well-known application used by several device manufacturers around the world”, is not the problem: “The issue is exactly what kind of data is actually being collected by this Adups application, and whether it presents a security or privacy risk.”

Blu added the data being collected is “standard for OTA functionally and basic international reporting”. It also said there is “nothing out of the ordinary that is being collected, and certainly does not affect any user’s privacy or security”.

With regard to the China issue, the company said: “Blu management takes issue with the statement that any server in China is prone to risk while several other multi-billion dollar companies and other mobile manufacturers such as Huawei and ZTE use them”.