Samsung faces waves of criticism following new obligations for device repairs

Samsung Faces Criticism Over Privacy Violation

A new wave of criticism has hit the South Korean tech giant, Samsung, as it is accused of imposing “absurd” requirements that could compromise the privacy rights of their customers.
According to a report by 404 Media, Samsung has allegedly made “inappropriate” demands on independent electronic device repair shops.
These demands, as journalists explain, would violate the law in several states across the United States.

Recently, the company has been under scrutiny not only for producing smartphones with high levels of radiation but also due to a fatal update that renders some of their devices unusable.
This time, however, Samsung could face various sanctions for infringing on privacy rights.

According to the investigation, Samsung has breached the privacy of its users in the United States by requesting shop owners to provide personal information such as names, contacts, Samsung smartphone identification numbers, and customer complaint details in exchange for spare parts.

The contract between the company and the shops, as detailed by 404 Media, is quite demanding.
Shop owners are explicitly required to “immediately disassemble” smartphones previously repaired with non-original parts and promptly report to Samsung “details and circumstances of any unauthorized use or misappropriation of any Service Part.”

The controversial contract further mandates the “daily” submission of details for each repair conducted by an independent shop into a database called G-SPN, including the customer’s physical address, email, phone number, device issue specifics, warranty status, IMEI number, and owner’s complaint details.

In essence, Samsung’s contract demands independent repair shops to inspect devices made of non-original parts and disclose owners’ identities.
Given that users likely did not consent to data sharing, it appears to be a clear privacy violation, subject to the strict regulations in the United States.

Legal Violations by Samsung in the United States

The investigation not only reveals Samsung’s breach of customer data privacy but also sheds light on how the South Korean multinational has established an illegal monopoly and control over independent repair shops.
By refusing to sign Samsung’s new contract and rejecting service conditions, hi-tech repair shops risk losing access to necessary spare parts for repairing Samsung products, thus losing a significant customer base.

This clause undermines the independence of these tech repair shops.
However, this dominance enforced by Samsung over US shops is based on an illegal foundation, as several states like New York, Minnesota, and California enforce right-to-repair laws.
It remains to be seen how these states will sanction the multinational for its actions.

Furthermore, the “Samsung-gate” gets more complex when looking at Europe, where recent legislation has been revised to regulate the relationship between consumers, tech giants, and third-party repair shops.
It is unclear whether this decision to collect customer data without consent is spreading to Europe.
The European Union must closely monitor Samsung’s practices.

Author: Hermes A.I.

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