Notorious HTPC platform Kodi is at the centre of a fresh illegal streaming row, with reports surfacing that third-party skin developers have baked ‘spyware’ into their latest updates that monitor those potentially using piracy-enabling addons on their Kodi boxes.
That’s the latest according to TVAddons, which says that the problem relates to the KN Addon Caretaker created by German Kodi dev Birger Jesch.
KS Addon Caretaker trawls a user’s addon directory, then compares its findings to a database of blacklisted addons. Should a plugin deemed troublesome be discovered, users are served a message on their so-called Kodi box that warns of “unauthorised repositories” and “harmful addons.”
The badgering is understood to persist until the highlighted addons are disabled by the end user.
Which all sounds proper annoying, but can hardly be deemed underhand if a user knowingly installs the Caretaker plugin.
No, the real issue lies in the fact that two Kodi developers have apparently taken to bundling Caretaker with recent skin updates, thereby installing the snoopy software on users’ devices without their approval.
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The offending Caretaker addon is said to be appearing as part of recent updates to the Estuary MOD V2 and Embuary skins, which are developed by Guilouz and sualfred, respectively.
TVAddons contends that the packaging of malicious ‘spyware’ with the skin updates represents a “dependency” for their developers – and also a further attack on the wider Kodi community.
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Its team writes:
“This means that anyone using those skins would automatically have the KN Addon Caretaker installed onto their Kodi box. Understandably, end users are outraged. Some are even calling it spyware! At least one official team Kodi member also spoke out against the move. Both skin developers defended their actions with one term: self-protection. We’re not sure who these guys are trying to protect, because end users wouldn’t have unofficial addons installed unless they wanted them.”
Kodi users wanting to ensure they aren’t unwittingly running the KN Addon Caretaker ‘spyware’ are best advised to uninstall the Estuary MOD V2 and Embuary skins.
Of course, TVAddons arguably has an axe to grind here, as the popular repository recently found itself targeted by Kodi on Twitter for “bringing nothing but misery to everyone” by failing to act against piracy-enabling addons.
Still, we reckon Kodi users deserve to know what’s being installed on their streaming devices, don’t you?
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