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Barnes & Noble tablets ship with stealthy data-gathering program

The $50 Nook 7 tablet went on sale with a program that quietly sends user data back to a third party. The company says the issue has been addressed.

The Nook Tablet 7 rivals the Amazon Fire in affordability.

The Nook Tablet 7 rivals the Amazon Fire in affordability.

Barnes & Noble

If you bought one of Barnes & Noble's $50 Nook 7 tablets, you might want to upgrade its software ASAP.

The low-priced gadgets, launched in time for the holidays this year, came preinstalled with a program called ADUPS that quietly sends user data back to a third party.

In a statement, Barnes & Noble Chief Digital Officer Fred Argir said that when first connected to Wi-Fi, the tablets would automatically update to a newer version of ADUPS that's been certified as complying with Google's security requirements. The tablet runs on Google's Android operating-system software.

Argir said the tablets "never collected any personally identifiable information or location data" and won't in the future. He said Barnes & Noble will have an update available in the next few weeks that will completely remove ADUPS.

"In the meantime," Argir said, "customers can rest assured that the device is safe to use."