January 26, 2022

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Four years later, security updates stopped showing up

Four years later, security updates stopped showing up

The buyer thinks that a big shortage.

Samsung Galaxy S8+, from our 2017 mobile phone test.

Norway’s consumer rights are among the best in the world, and we are well protected in case we have problems with the products we buy.

If there are problems with your mobile before the expiry of its life, you will be able to claim to correct the error, eventually get a new mobile or cancel the purchase.

For cell phones, the average life expectancy is five years.

But what happens when the “error” is not a physical defect, but simply a lack of new and updated software?

Øystein Grande Jaren bought the Samsung Galaxy S8 in 2017, and since then there have been steadily new software and security updates. However, the last security update came in April 2021, and since then Samsung has stopped sending security updates to some Galaxy S8 phones because they are too old.

However, Garen’s phone is not yet five years old, and it is believed that he can no longer use the mobile phone as it was originally intended:

In the post-April period, many serious Android vulnerabilities have been discovered which will never be patched on my mobile phone. This means that the phone is in fact not safe to use. I think this should be considered a major drawback, as the phone cannot be used as intended.

The Consumer Council fully agrees with Garen in many ways, but says current regulations do not adequately cover safety updates:

“This issue is not directly resolved in current consumer purchase law, although it can be argued that if the product is compromised securely for the computer during the expiration of the complaint deadline, the consumer will be able to sue the seller or producer,” wrote Thomas Iverson, Senior Advisors on the Consumer Council, to Tek .no.

Garen has tried.

– I have been in contact with Samsung about this, first in the support chat, then via the contact form on their website.

In the chat history, and later via email, Samsung support staff replies that this is not something covered by a right of complaint or warranty, “as the mobile phone can be physically used.”

He was also told that the only solution was to buy a new mobile phone:

– If you do not feel safe with your phone, we recommend that you buy a new one with a newer security version.

This issue is unknown to the Consumer Council, but with current regulations there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer either:

There is no demarcation in current consumer purchase law that distinguishes between software and hardware, but the assessment of whether software bugs are a defect is still uncertain, Iversen answers.

We are contacting Samsung Norway to hear their views on the issue, and whether the phone should be considered fully functional without access to the latest security updates.

We got an answer from the head of Samsung Norway until Amdal, who said they fixed this problem:

“Samsung is still obligated to update older phones that are outside the grace period if an update is found to be needed that fixes critical errors,” Amdal writes, continuing:

In other words, we can try to help the customer here as best we can.

However, next year, the new Consumer Purchase Act will come into effect, after which the situation will be in favor of two neighbors:

– When the new draft law is proposed, the consumer has the right to receive updates – at least security updates – during the life of the product. This is positive in relation to the transition to a sustainable society in those products that are presented with digital services necessary for the functionality of the thing, its technical life is used. If this does not happen, the consumer will file a claim against the seller or the manufacturer as a result of the lack of updates.

In other words: once the new consumer purchase law is in place, both mobile devices will do And The program is maintained for at least five years.

This will not only be enforced in Norway, but will be in effect throughout the European Union.

“We expect manufacturers in particular to offer such updates during the life of the product, and will follow in the future,” Iverson concludes.

Exactly when the new consumer purchase law will be effective in 2022 is not certain.

The lack of security updates is not something that only affects those with Samsung mobile phones. Samsung is among the top mobile phone manufacturers in the industry and earlier this year promised that all new mobile phones will be updated for at least four years. With the new Consumer Purchase Act next year, they may have to expand this.

But other Android manufacturers don’t even provide four-year security updates, some only for a few years, without it being obvious when you buy the phone. Practically speaking, only Apple keeps its mobile phones updated for more than five years.

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