MyNokia in Maemo’s PR1.2 release

(I’m not the first person to cover this topic, anyway.)

After upgrading my Nokia N900 to the latest software version (PR1.2) I got a “MyNokia” screen after rebooting.
Nokia was kind enough to offer me both subscribing to their MyNokia service by sending Nokia an SMS message and to read the Terms and Conditions of their service (Terms and Conditions that some people consider either incorrect or even illegal).
I assume that in the hurry of getting the PR1.2 release out in time Nokia probably simply forgot to add a “Do not subscribe me” option. But who needs that anyway? It’s hard to imagine why people would not want to use it. You just give Nokia some of your private data and in return you get some cool and totally useful tricks and tips for your N900 that… you had known before already? Nah, come on!

Sending SMS to Nokia costs money as per Terms and Conditions (“Use of the Service may involve transmission of data through your service provider’s network. Your network service provider may charge for such data transmission.”) Also it’s not clear if the message will be sent to an international number or not (different costs).

So I removed the battery to switch off the device. But booting brought up the dialog again. So the available options are “Subscribe” and “Do not use your device”. By subscribing I send them data such as… hmm, what exactly? I cannot find a clear list in the Terms and Conditions. Does Nokia care about my privacy?

After successfully subscribing you receive an SMS welcoming message from Nokia which does not tell you from which exact phone number but there are users that extracted a list.

To unsubscribe I had to send an SMS again to Nokia that I pay for again. So I went to the Settings section and tried to unsubscribe. And failed with a generic error: “Nokia: Attempt to unsubscribe has failed. Go to ‘My Nokia” in Settings to try again. Visit www.nokia.com/mynokia for more information.”
The second sentence told me to try again. So I tried again. And paid again. And failed again. And realized that the UI does not give any indication whether you are currently subscribed or not.
The frustrating user interface could be easily fixed by anybody if the code was open source.
It is not.

Dave pointed out that there is a workaround for this registration. And there are dozens of complaints, also from other series than Maemo, which makes me wonder if Nokia Marketing is actually aware of this.

It was easy to get an answer to my previous question “Does Nokia care about my privacy?”: I simply went to Nokia’s website which states “WE CARE ABOUT YOUR PRIVACY” at the top.
Unfortunately they only offer me a postal address in Finland to find out what that exactly means as I have some open questions left – for example which exact data is stored. In accordance to German law I must be told (§ 6 Abs. 2, § 28 Abs. 4, § 34 Abs. 1-3 BDSG, § 34 Abs. 1, § 43 Abs. 3 BDSG).

As written in the Terms and Conditions, “Except as set forth in Privacy Policy, Nokia shall not be responsible for any removal of the information or content you have submitted (“Material”) from the Service when your registration is terminated.”
IANAL, but that does not sound legal to me.

So if a Nokia Legal person can explain to me how their service and its terms are in accordance to German law (esp. §4 Abs. 3 BDSG) feel encouraged to leave a comment on this blog or send me an email. If this will not happen there are ways to force you to, as already listed here.

PS: Those who find irony in this posting are free to keep it.

22 Responses to “MyNokia in Maemo’s PR1.2 release”

  1. If Nokia servers are not located in Germany, why should they be limited by German law? In other words: would you expect Twitter or http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ to respect your local regulations?

    After all it is you who is accessing a service hosted in another country. :)

  2. Because they sell the phone in Germany, so they are bound to respect the laws of the countries where they sell the phone in.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Daniel Martin Yerga, anidel. anidel said: RT @yerga: [gshare] MyNokia in Maemo’s PR1.2 release http://tinyurl.com/38lfwar […]

  4. I didn’t refer to the phone, I meant the MyNokia service which is internet-based.

  5. Graham Cobb says:

    Good article, Thanks.

  6. Jon Nordby says:

    Patryk: The service is more-or-less a part of the device since you cannot opt out of it. So I beg to differ.

  7. Martin says:

    Hi,

    that’s something which has confused me, too. When you need people who help lend weight to your words at nokia feel free to send my a mail and tell me how i can contribute my voice.

  8. Huh. Either I didn’t get this dialog at all (maybe the service isn’t supported in en_US?) or I just blindly clicked through it.

  9. aklapper says:

    @Patryk: It’s not about servers. It’s to which postal address the SMS number is registered to that the message was sent to.

    @Travis: It is not available in all countries. I think US is one that is not “supported”.

  10. Oskar says:

    I think it’s time to blog about this now, too. I thought I wouldn’t… I thought that was just an accident that happened and I needn’t make people aware of it as long as Nokia fixes the problem or provides an explanation.

    But now time has passed, we have bug reports about it, we have a public discussion on t.m.o., mails have been sent to members of the Maemo/MeeGo team @ Nokia… and there’s nothing but silence.

    If they don’t speak, I will.

  11. Seth Dove says:

    I live in the US and I got this thing too.
    Sometime suing is the only way to make corporations behave…

  12. Flexmat says:

    Good article.

  13. A.T. says:

    Until you see someone in court squeezing balls of lawyers signed under this particular decision, nothing will change. Not-so-positive PR won’t much help — privacy shall kick business in the guts, otherwise it will be ignored. And this is not only Nokia problem – EVERY business do it. They all should be dragged to court and face-tabled until it becomes standard lawyer practice — to avoid being feather-tarred for privacy issues. I wish I knew how to do that and have enough money…

  14. Tanuva says:

    I didn’t see that dialog here in Germany either. The only thing I noticed was a ovi messaging account that got enabled automagically and silently.
    The N900 survey a few days ago was also very disappointing. Two SMS, one if I would recommend the N900 to others (marks from 1 to 10) and another to stata why. I doubt that something might change because of such a survey…

  15. Dave says:

    I live in Ireland and as you previously highlighted, someone found the list or numbers that this subscription sms goes out to. The list of numbers includes a lot of short codes but no proper phone number for Irish registrations. I clicked through it and nowhere did it say that my data would be sent to a different country.
    As far as I know this is also Illegal in Ireland.
    Nokia now owe everyone that purchased an expensive N900 and upgraded it with the latest software to fix bugs, the costs of the sms they kindly sent themselves on our behalf’s and also the messages we all sent afterwards to get rid of the stupid subscription.
    Now if I could just find out how to claim the money back from them…..

  16. GKanda says:

    I have the American firmware version N900, I live in Ghana. After update the MyNokia tab the setting window shuts down anytime I click on it with the message “internal error”. I don’t even have the service active at present. Could it be a bug?

  17. inidrog says:

    Thanks to you also for finally stating your opinion in the open. I personally specially like your second paragraph, the sarcastic part. The truth is allways best in the long run.

  18. sygys says:

    The worst thing is that you send an sms every freaking time you flash your device. for me thats about 15 times now. Yeah i know im a phone bricker ;)

    But it costs me 3,75 eur allready. and it sure wont be the last time i reflash. I think its anoying and i hope some one will sue nokia for this.

  19. Andrew Flegg says:

    The Maemo Community Council has raised this with Nokia, and we were told a communication would be coming out “soon”.

    Unfortunately, despite reminders, we’ve not heard anything yet.

  20. Faheem says:

    Thank you, Andre.

    @A.T.
    Nokia needs more employees like you…

  21. José M. Arnesto says:

    @Patryk:

    What they have done is clearly illegal in all of the EU. Please have a look at Directive EC95/46 and while you are at it, have a look at the Finnish Personal Data Act (June 1999) where that Directive was transposed into Finnish national law.