Carrier IQ, a mobile phone software and data analytics company that gives telecoms business intelligence on connections, dropped calls and user behavior was hit with at least eleven consumer class-action lawsuits alleging privacy and Federal Wiretap Act violations.
The lawsuits accuse the telecom software analystics company of variously recording Android or Apple mobile phone users’ text messages, e-mails and keystrokes, but a number of reports seriously question such claims.
The uproar picked up speed last week after Wired.com reported on a 25-year-old computer systems administrator who released a YouTube video questioning what Carrier IQ software did on his phone.
Lawmakers were concerned. Senate Judiciary Committee members Al Frankem (D-Minn.) quickly sent off a letter (below) to Larry Lenhart, President and CEO of Silicon Valley-based company, demanding answers about the company’s software’s usage and capabilities:
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) letter to Carrier IQ Pres. and CEO
Electronic Frontier Foundation (‘EFF’) privacy advocate Eva Galperin told a reporter that a big concern about Carrier IQ software is that “you can’t get away with lying to your users” by failing to give them information about how software may allow their data and/or person to be tracked.
Carrier IQ stated in a press release that “we do not record or transmit the content of the SMS,” but that its software tries to verify whether or not a text “was sent accurately.” The company “vigorously denies all assertions” that it purportedly violated federal wiretap laws.”
Hacker Dan Rosenberg added credibility to a number of Carrier IQs denials, saying that he found that the company is not doing many of the things alleged, in part, because:
- CarrierIQ cannot record SMS text bodies, web page contents, or email content (emphasis added)
- CarrierIQ (on this particular phone) cannot record any other keystrokes besides those that occur using the dialer.(emphasis added)
While the company’s chief marketing officer acknowledged that the user data it monitors contains “a treasure trove” of user information, he disavowed any notion that Carrier IQ owns phone users’ information, saying that Carrier IQ “has no rights to the data collected.”
You can read and track all the federal Carrier IQ lawsuits here on Justia Dockets.