Is Temu spying on you? The United States has filed a complaint against the online store

Despite being a newcomer to the world of e-commerce (born in 2022) Temu has quickly become a big competitor for brands like Amazon, AliExpress and Shein. As is usual in these meteoric rises, there were paths of roses and others of thorns. And precisely the last one goes on this side of thorns: a complaint from the United States against Temu.

The same was conducted by Arkansas (USA) Attorney General Tim Griffin and accuses Temu of spying through his app. The complaint is based on a report by Grizzly Reports, a company that tracks the security of publicly traded companies. It states that “TEMU application software has the full range of characteristics of the most aggressive forms of malware/spyware. For example, the app has hidden features that allow for extensive data breach without users’ knowledge, potentially giving criminals complete access to almost all data on customers’ mobile devices. “It is evident that great efforts were made to intentionally conceal the malicious intent and intrusion of the software.”

The consequences of this not only lie in the danger of a massive data breach, as the app has been downloaded more than 100 million times in the last 9 months, all in the US and Europe. The problem is that, according to the complaint, Temu is not offered in China and this would indicate possible security breaches.

The lawsuit, for its part, states that “Temu is specifically designed to gain unrestricted access to the phone’s operating system, including camera, location, contacts, text messages and apps. Although it is known as an e-commerce platform, Temu is functionally malware and spyware.”

It also notes that once installed, Temu may change properties, including privacy settings that users believe they have. In other words, broadly speaking, the e-commerce platform “would be acting as if it were a Trojan,” according to Attorney General Griffin.

The complaint ultimately asks for an injunction to be issued to prevent Temu from spying on users, as this violates Arkansas’ Deceptive Trade Practices Act and Arkansas’ Personal Information Protection Act. For its part, Temu claims that Grizzly Research’s report is not based on real data and that they are “surprised and disappointed by the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, for file the lawsuit without any independent investigation.The allegations are based on misinformation circulating on the Internet, mainly from a short seller, and are completely unfounded. We categorically deny the allegations and vigorously defend ourselves.”

It would not be the first time that the United States has initiated legal action and vetoes against Chinese companies, Huawei and TikTok are examples of this. We’ll see if Temu follows the same path.