BLU phones return to Amazon following recent privacy concerns

After what BLU is calling a false alarm, products are back in stock and available at Amazon.

In a press release issued shortly after Amazon suspended sales, BLU stated "that there is absolutely no spyware or malware or secret software on BLU devices" and claimed reports to the contrary were false.

Soon after reports in 2016 surfaced of BLU's privacy blunder, the company hired Kryptowire, who had originally found the issues, to investigate the situation further. After regular monitoring of the ADUPS service, Tom Karygiannis, Kryptowire vice president, is quoted as saying "the data collection is in line with BLU's Privacy Policy, and does not constitute any wrong doing by BLU."

It's still unclear why Amazon thought the products needed to be pulled, but now they're back and readily available.

The original story is below.

U.S.-based phone company BLU is back in hot water as Amazon has suspended sales of its phones citing concerns over the security of the software loaded on the phones. Amazon says the move is in response to a "potential security issue," though it's not immediately clear if it stems from the same security worry uncovered in apps pre-loaded on BLU phones late last year.

BLU R1 HD

Most people probably don't have any specific brand affinity for BLU's phones, but it has made some of the cheapest Android devices available on Amazon, which has driven sales as it competes in the ultra-low-end segment. BLU has even partnered with Amazon for a "Prime Exclusive" device that was sold with lock screen ads at a steep discount — just $60. At the time of the previous security scare it was apparently determined BLU had things under control enough to keep the phones on sale — but now Amazon is pulling the plug 8 months later.

Amazon's provided the following statement to CNET:

Because security and privacy of our customers is of the utmost importance, all BLU phone models have been made unavailable for purchase on Amazon.com until the issue is resolved.

The interesting part about this whole thing is how long it took Amazon to put a halt on sales, particularly if this is indeed a continuation of the same issue from November last year. With Amazon's reputation on the line in that it's selling co-branded Prime Exclusive versions of BLU phones, it's surprising that it wouldn't have at least temporarily paused sales while this was ongoing. Now, Amazon is now directing customers to BLU for inquiries on their phones, and continuing to sell other Prime Exclusive phones from the likes of Motorola, Nokia and Alcatel.

It isn't likely that anyone will be too upset by not seeing a BLU phone available on Amazon alongside the many other Prime Exclusive devices, but for those who bought one throughout 2017 there are bigger questions as to how big this security hole is and how responsible BLU will be in addressing it.

Updated August 2017: BLU responds and phones once again available at Amazon.