Carrier IQ Controversy Continues

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Lawsuits have been filed against Carrier IQ, and phone makers HTC and Samsung for violating a federal wiretapping statute. The class action lawsuits were filed in Chicago and St. Louis, seeking hundreds of million of dollars on behalf of all US residents who had mobile phones containing the software.

CarrierIQ software is designed to track performance of cell phones and is used by wireless carriers to provide better service to their customers. It is reportedly deployed on more than 140 million handsets worldwide

The lawsuits were brought on the basis of the Federal Wiretap Act, a law that forbids intercepting “oral, wire or electronic communications” and provides penalties of $100 per day for every violation that takes place.

Carrier IQ has a simple rebuttal to accusations that its software logs keystrokes: It doesn’t (pdf).

While it might “listen” to a smartphone’s keyboard, it’s listening for very specific information. Company executives insist it doesn’t log or understand keystrokes.

C/Net’s Declan McCullagh says Carrier IQ was wrongly accused of keylogging:

One article on a Mac Web site breathlessly reported that “Carrier IQ probably violated federal wiretap laws in millions of cases.”

Well, no. There’s zero evidence that Carrier IQ captured, recorded, or transmitted any keystrokes. But that didn’t stop the self-appointed lynch mob on blogs and Twitter.

The controversy began when 25-year-old Trevor Eckhart released a YouTube video that purportedly showed the company’s software recording phone users’ keystrokes and encrypted communications. Carrier IQ initially claimed that the software was simply to help carriers provide better service and threatened to sue Eckhart.

A new Android app to identify whether your smartphone has any Carrier IQ tracking/monitoring software installed. The Voodoo Carrier IQ detector is said to give users a simple way to test your phone.

The Commerce Department is conducting a survey of US carriers, asking for a detailed accounting of network equipment as well as security-related incidents. The survey comes weeks after a powerful House intelligence committee launched an investigation into whether the increased presence of Huawei and ZTE in the U.S. infrastructure market will provide “the Chinese government an opportunity for greater foreign espionage.”

WikiLeaks: The Spy Files has a collection of 287 digital surveillance firms’ marketing materials, price lists and catalogues.

It’s a joint effort with Bugged Planet, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and Privacy International, and media partners including the Washington Post, the Hindu, the Italian paper L’Espresso and the French news outlet OWNI.

Related Dailywireless articles include Carrier IQ Questioned, How Your Location & Preferences are Recorded, Behavioral Targeting: Kill/Capture, Google Vs The Feds, Inside the Libyan Uprising, Internet Traffic: 18 Minute Gap?, Communications Law: Net Neutrality & Surveillence and Spy Squirrels Captured.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Friday, December 2nd, 2011 at 12:02 pm .

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