Samsung Wins Updates-Related Lawsuit In The Netherlands

The District Court of The Hague has finally issued its verdict on a complaint filed by the Dutch Consumers’ Association against Samsung back in 2016 over Android updates to the South Korean tech giant's phone offerings. The ruling turned the tide in favor of Samsung on grounds that it was impossible to set the deadline for releasing regular software updates to the company's devices. The consumer protection group called for timely Android software updates and a transparent software roadmap for Samsung devices, claiming that the South Korean original equipment manufacturer's mobile devices lack enough software support and put the security of consumers at risk due to the critical vulnerabilities in the way the company implements the Android operating system on its offerings.

In November 2016, the Dutch Consumers’ Association revised its complaint in a comprehensive manner so that it complied with the current judicial system in the Netherlands. The consumer advocacy organization demanded that Samsung commit to the release of regular security updates to its products throughout a period of four years beginning in the market release date of the device or two years since a customer purchased the handset. Samsung currently offers four years of updates for its flagship enterprise-grade handsets such as the special edition of the latest Galaxy S9 series and three years of security updates for the enterprise variants of the Galaxy A8. In theory, it is possible to keep track of the purchase dates of handsets. However, such a software upgrade policy in the mobile industry remains unprecedented, thus making the consumer protection group's case weak.

The initial complaint also mentioned Stage Fright which has since been fixed, though the complainant still pushed to oblige Samsung into releasing regular software upgrades meant to address known security vulnerabilities of its handsets over a specific period of time. The organization acknowledged the fact that it is currently not possible to develop a perfectly secure operating system for mobile devices given the nature of software development and since various vulnerabilities are always popping up every now and then. The group said it only wanted Samsung to commit to patching up security issues in a timelier fashion and informing its customers about such efforts.

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