Taiwan Mobile must complete its recall of its Amazing A32 smartphones within two months and pay compensation to customers who purchased them or were affected by a malware problem that led to identity theft complaints, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday, one week after it had ordered the telecom to recall all of the self-branded, China-made smartphones still in use over the security glitch.
It also ordered the telecom to give it weekly updates on the progress of the recall.
The commission’s tougher stance came one day after the Consumers’ Foundation said that Taiwan Mobile should take full responsibility for the security breach and fix the loopholes immediately.
Photo: Yang Mien-chieh, Taipei Times
The foundation said that some Amazing A32 owners had filed complaints with it over the recall offer.
The Criminal Investigation Bureau informed the commission late last year that an investigation had found that Amazing A32 smartphones had been implanted with a malware at their manufacturing site, which enabled hackers to obtain the users’ telephone numbers and register with a mobile game apps without the subscribers’ knowledge.
Taiwan Mobile halted sales of the smartphone in July last year after selling about 90,000 units since the model’s launch in April 2018.
Only about 7,600 of Taiwan Mobile subscribers who bought the phones are still using them, the commission said last week.
The telecom had presented those subscribers with a compensation package, offering them a free software update, or the option to subscribe to a different service plan and receive a NT$1,000 rebate on a new smartphone and NT$1,000 deduction from their phone bills.
However, since some subscribers had already become the subject of scam investigations, the commission yesterday asked Taiwan Mobile to say how it would compensate fraud victims for money lost to scammers, as well as other expenses such as having to take days off from work if they were summoned by prosecutors’ offices for questioning.
“Users of the smartphone are still exposed to security risks. After reviewing how Samsung recalled Galaxy Note 7 for defective batteries in 2017 and Volkswagen recalled vehicles with compromised emission control systems in 2015, the commissioners ruled that the company should recall its Amazing A32 smartphones within two months and submit its recall plan to the commission,” NCC Vice Chairman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said.
“It should try to contact 80 percent of the smartphone users and recall 80 percent of the smartphones,” Wong said.
The company must also report the progress of its recall to the commission every seven days.
In addition, Taiwan Mobile must add a specific icon for the recall on its Web site, and should use every means possible to inform Amazing A32 owners about the recall, including sending text messages and making media announcements, the commission said.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: A US Air Force KC-135 tanker came less than 1,000 feet of an EVA plane and was warned off by a Taipei air traffic controller, a report said A US aerial refueling aircraft came very close to an EVA Airways jet in the airspace over southern Taiwan, a military aviation news Web site said. A report published by Alert 5 on Tuesday said that automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) data captured by planfinder.net on Wednesday last week showed a US Air Force KC-135 tanker “coming less than 1,000 feet [305m] vertically with EVA Air flight BR225 as both aircraft crossed path south of Taiwan” that morning. The report included an audio recording of a female controller from the Taipei air traffic control center telling the unidentified aircraft that it was
A US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt has entered the South China Sea to promote “freedom of the seas,” the US military said yesterday, as tensions between China and Taiwan raise concerns in Washington. US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the strike group entered the South China Sea on Saturday, the same day Taiwan reported a large incursion of Chinese bombers and fighter jets into its air defense identification zone near the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). The US military said the carrier strike group was in the South China Sea, a large part of which
STRATEGIC MISTAKE: Beijing’s deployment of aircraft near Taiwan proves the ‘China threat theory’ that sees it attempting to destabilize the region, an analyst said China on Saturday and yesterday sent a record number of military aircraft into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), in what analysts said was an attempt to flex its military might for US President Joe Biden. Thirteen Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ on Saturday and 15 entered yesterday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. On Saturday, eight Xian H-6K bombers, four Shenyang J-16 fighters and a Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, entered the ADIZ, while yesterday there were two Y-8s, two Su-30s, four J-16s, six J-10 fighters and a Y-8 reconnaissance
DISPOSING MYTHS: A new constitution would better reflect reality, as the current one was drafted ‘in and for China,’ without the consent of Taiwanese, advocates said Independence advocates yesterday launched the Taiwan New Constitution Alliance to promote drafting a new, localized constitution. “This is a historic moment for Taiwan. Drafting a new constitution is the most important task Taiwanese face,” veteran independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) said at the inaugural event in Taipei. “Although the Democratic Progressive Party is in power, its authority is based on the Republic of China [ROC] Constitution, which has no connection to Taiwan,” said the 95-year-old Koo, a former presidential adviser. “The historic task of drafting a new constitution depends on efforts by all Taiwanese,” Koo said. “A constitution for a sovereign, independent Taiwan