back to article Samsung will be Putin dreaded Kremlin-approved shovelware on its phones, claims Russia

The Russian government, via mouthpiece RIA Novosti, has claimed Korean tech giant Samsung will comply with a controversial Russian law passed in November that forces smartphones and computers to come pre-installed with domestic-made shovelware. "Samsung Electronics will be ready to meet the requirements of the Russian …

  1. alain williams Silver badge

    Preinstalled OK, auto run not OK

    Having something preinstalled in the hope that the user runs it as it is just easier is OK, but something that runs when the device is switched on is not so. Especially if it has privileges that enable it to see & report what the user is doing.

    Also will they be removable by the end user ? My Samsung 'phone has a non-removable facebook app installed. I'm OK with it being initially installed, but not that I cannot remove it. I have never used it & would like to zap it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Preinstalled OK, auto run not OK

      Doesn't really matter if they are pre-installed, most(*) will put a generic boot rom onto them anyway...

      (*) anyone with a modicum of sensibility

      1. garypotatoes

        Re: Preinstalled OK, auto run not OK

        That's a silly and elitist notion to take. Most will take what they get, or if they're "sensible" avoid something like that because they value their time more than a riced rom.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Preinstalled OK, auto run not OK

        Not even most Reg readers, let alone most customers. I'll bet less than 1% of Android phones get a new OS (i.e. generic Android) installed, let alone a new boot ROM.

        Your position is like saying that having facial recognition cameras everywhere isn't a problem, because sensible people will wear motorcycle helmets whenever they are out in public.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Preinstalled OK, auto run not OK

      Android apps don't run in the same way as Windows apps do and can linger in the background without you knowing nor needing to tap the icon. If an authority require that an app be preinstalled you can bet they also require all the necessary permissions are preset too, you don't want to give people too much choice.

    3. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Preinstalled OK, auto run not OK

      My Amazon fire HD has a load of apps that run without my consent and don't appear on the list of installed apps. If I go into the settings list and select system apps then they do appear. I can see how often they try to connect to the internet and where via my no root firewall. Alexa is a top candidate for this as is Alexa Cards a few telemetry apps etc. As I've disabled the microphone Alexa is fairly useless anyway. Although personally I don't have a use for a spy like Alexa on any of my kit.

  2. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    I puzzled a bit over the headline and still am. Possibly some kind individualmight point out the pun (for I assume there must be one - this is The egafter all)

    1. Milton Silver badge

      point out the pun

      I think you're being a teensy bit disingenuous, but I'll point out anyway, that El Reg subs—all lovely people, who volunteered for the "Reset Sensayuma to Age Twelve" experiment in college—are incapable of resisting the urge to say "Putin" for "putting" or "put in", despite the fact that this wasn't remotely funny even the very first time someone said it.*

      *Which, since you obviously want to know, was uttered for the first time at a treff with a supposed Stasi double-agent in Leipzig, October 1988. Or I could have made that up ...

      1. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: point out the pun

        It's a little bit funny.

        1. Alistair Silver badge

          Re: point out the pun

          ...... This feeling inside......

          <not sung by sam, but what the ell>

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: point out the pun

        Indeed. I'll stop russian around trying to think up such terrible and deeply unfunny puns forthwith :-)

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Putin <=> putting perhaps?

      As the Alain Williams' post: I'd have exactly the same concerns... software installed without me asking for it and without any way to remove it? Just whose phone is it, anyway?

      One might suspect, with no knowledge of the regulation in question, that it probably prohibits the ability to root a phone and/or replace the rom image.

    4. Hate2Register

      Can I put in?

      Pun words are defined as having the same or similar sound while different meanings. 'Putin' does not have a similar sound to 'put in', so I was going to argue it's not a pun. But it's not up to me of course to say what is a pun and what is not. Perhaps the more tenuous the sound-link, the worse the pun. Maybe purple pun would be a description. I'm not trying to tautologically hang the author. Again and again and again...

    5. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Obligatory Yakov joke...

      In Soviet Russia telephone listens to YOU.

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Re: Obligatory Yakov joke...

        In Freedom-loving U.S. of A.Television watches YOU.

        See, we have something in common.

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

          Re: Obligatory Yakov joke...

          "In Freedom-loving U.S. of A.Television watches YOU"

          The Samsung models do this from what i've heard.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Obligatory Yakov joke...

        just like China.

        I wonder if the two will merge. what would we call it?

        Rushina, Chussia, Soviet China, Ruina, Ruin, that's what life would be like. Ruin it is.

        I have friends there, now I'm sad.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Obligatory Yakov joke...

          I wonder if the two will merge

          Unlikely - they follow two incompatible versions of socialism/communism. They even came close to war over their idealogical differences..

          (And, given the disparity in military capability, it would be China borging Russia. The only advantage Russia has is their nukes)

          1. Mark Exclamation

            Re: Obligatory Yakov joke...

            Don't be too sure. If China's military weapons are anything like the crap they manufacture that the West buys, most of them won't work (properly) when they come to use them.

          2. Tigra 07 Silver badge

            Re: Obligatory Yakov joke...

            Why are Russia's nukes an advantage? China also has nukes, and spends waaaaaaay more on defence than they officially claim. Reports say they have nukes hidden in tunnels everywhere, making their true numbers hard to predict.

  3. wolfetone

    Well at least Russia are transparent about it. We had to get Snowden to blow the whistle on the CIA's secret spying on individuals.

    1. Mark Exclamation

      Did we? All Snowden did was confirm what we already knew.

  4. MJI Silver badge

    Makes a change

    From their own shovelware.

    1. wegie

      Re: Makes a change

      Nah. This will be *in addition* to the usual Samsung bloatware.

      Mind you, it'll almost certainly be significantly better engineered.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Fines for non-compliance range between 50,000 and 20,000 roubles"

    That's interesting. Generally, when price ranges are quoted, they go from smallest to largest value. Might there be a 0 missing ?

    1. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Re: "Fines for non-compliance range between 50,000 and 20,000 roubles"

      about $300 -$780 might not seem like much, but if its per device (as rumoured in the piece)

      when the average sale price before tax is $246

      and the market is 6.38 million smarphones per quater and 1.75 million feature phones growing at 8.2% year on year (IDC Q1 2019)

      thats some considerable losses

      1. Mahhn

        Re: "Fines for non-compliance range between 50,000 and 20,000 roubles"

        So people can get out of having the software if they pay the fine/privacy tax of $780

        I bet $780 it won't be installed on Putin's phone.

  6. Peter D

    Russia is a piss poor market

    I don't see why the likes of Samsung would pander to Rat faced Putin. Russia isn't a rich country and it's not a key market.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

    Contender for the Understatement of the Year Award

    Russia, after all, is a country with a patchy human rights record,...

    Of course, being a USAian, I don't have much to brag about in the Human Rights department...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    In your accompanying stock image illustration, why does Putin have a second pair of lips in place of his right eye?

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: Stuttershock

      He's got a vagina in his eye!

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I suspect this will just lead to lots of black market Iphones should Apple stop selling officially in Russia.

    As for the pre-installed spyware depending on peoples tech levels they can either flash with a ROM from outside of Russia without the app, root the phone to remove it, or install apps such as no-root firewall to keep it there but block it from being able to connect to the internet.

    1. Michael_sl

      Grey market is an answer. Not only for Apple products :)

  11. Michael_sl

    For everyone who is concerned, but have zero knowledge about generic ROM: there is a thing, called Grey Market :)

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