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.
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