EFF: Verizon's new AppFlash launcher is "The First Horseman of the Privacy Apocalypse"

Verizon has announced its newest addition to its ever-growing roster of custom default Android applications today: AppFlash, an app launcher and search utility built into Verizon's smartphones, which the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the US' largest digital privacy advocate, calls 'spyware'.

On March 28, the United States Congress voted to reduce broadband privacy protections in a move widely criticized by privacy activists, as it would let Internet providers sell users' data without their permission. This, according to EFF, is what prompted the announcement of AppFlash, whose Privacy Policy states:

The app reportedly tracks users' precise location, collects users' phone number and contact information, as well as the full list of installed apps on the user's device. The company, according to the EFF, intends to monetize customers' private data without user consent. Another problem AppFlash could pose is its potential for being exploited as an attack vector by hackers, who, according to the organization, will soon begin probing it for vulnerabilities.

The app itself is reportedly just a modified version of the already-existing Evie launcher, whose special search function is now separated into its own tab accessed by swiping left on the home screen. The app will start rolling out in the coming weeks for Verizon customers, but Evie Labs is reportedly looking into licensing the app to other carriers as well.



1. Carl3000

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 11, 2014

And so it begins.

11. threed61

Posts: 259; Member since: May 27, 2011

It began a long time ago, with a nice little company called Google.

13. technitude

Posts: 263; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

It began way before Google. In the 1980s product registrations were collecting way too much information.

2. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Lol Verizon. This is why I refuse to do business with them.

3. phonehome

Posts: 812; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

You've got Unlimitedâś” spyware.

4. Cat97

Posts: 1983; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

As long as there is choice, I don't see any issues. That's why there is competition and a free market.

8. DFranch

Posts: 558; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

Do you mean choice to not install a tracking app on your phone, or choice to drop Verizon?

5. Phonehex

Posts: 768; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

Like you guys are VVips who are so bothered about privacy . Too much hulaboo over commoners privacy. No one cares .

6. Chidoro

Posts: 168; Member since: Sep 20, 2016

Ignorance is nothing new.

12. mikehunta727 unregistered

Stop trolling please. Many, many people actually do really care

7. palmguy

Posts: 987; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Resistance is futile!

9. SleeperOne

Posts: 370; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

Verizon at the forefront of spyware? You don't say...

10. mikehunta727 unregistered

Yeah this is fking bulls**t. Wtf Verizon seriously...? I seriously was considering the S8 + (on Verizon) but now most likely not unless somehow you can disable this entirely via root or so

14. Pitrich

Posts: 239; Member since: Apr 13, 2016

They would go first

15. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Don't do Verizon. Their greed made me leave a long time ago. Hey Verizon. Go bleep yourself. Never again.

16. AlikMalix unregistered

Wait, are they going to add these to iPhones as well?

17. datsyuk

Posts: 180; Member since: Jan 11, 2012

Could someone please explain how this app just rolls out onto phones automatically? I've been using iOS and I can't imagine this app appearing on my newer iPhone (never have seen bloatware preinstalled now or in the past with Apple devices). Can it just be uninstalled right away?

18. cc2400

Posts: 74; Member since: Aug 21, 2014

they damn well better allow this crap to be uninstalled.

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