A researcher recently found that Carrier IQ software is secretly installed
on most modern Android, BlackBerry, and Nokia phones. Android developer's Trevor
Eckert's 17 minute video demonstrates how that Carrier IQ software is
loaded on his phone, cannot be disabled, tracks every keystroke, and sends
the data to Carrier IQ. After receiving this massive data from
millions of cell users, Carrier IQ "correlates and aggregates the
data for near real-time system monitoring and business intelligence" for
phone carriers and manufacturers ostensibily to improve quality.
Eckert demonstrated that Carrier IQ software was logging
and potentially transmitting the sensitive information of consumers, including:
As a result Representative
Edward Markey (D-Mass.), co-Chair of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy
Caucus, sent a letter to the Federal Trade
Commission asking what is being done to investigate.
In addition to Representative Markey's letter, Senator Al
Franken (chairman of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law) sent his own
letter to Carrier IQ which included the following:
I am very concerned by recent reports that
your company's software - pre-installed on smartphones used by millions of
Americans - is logging and may be transmitting extraordinarily sensitive
information from consumers' phones ... It also appears that an average user
would have no way to know that this software is running - and that when the
user finds out, he or she will have no reasonable means to remove or stop it.
... These actions may violate federal privacy laws, including the Electronic
Communications Privacy Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This is
potentially a very serious matter.
Senator Franken requested that Carrier IQ answer by
December 14, 2011.
1, 2011 Carrier IQ issued a press release in which Carrier IQ stated that
consumer's privacy is protected:
Consumers have a trusted relationship with
operators and expect their personal information and privacy to be respected. As
a condition of its contracts with operators, Carrier IQ operates exclusively
within that framework and under the laws of the applicable jurisdiction. The
data we gather is transmitted over an encrypted channel and secured within our
customers' networks or in our audited and customer-approved facilities.
Actually Carrier IQ claimed that "Our software makes your
phone better by delivering intelligence on the performance of mobile devices
and networks to help the operators provide optimal service efficiency."
This is alarming news and it seems to me we all expect
our government to step in to protect consumers' privacy which seems has been
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