Consumer Watchdog wants probe of Carrier IQ, carriers
The software maker has turned mobile phones into spy phones, the consumer group says
IDG News Service - Consumer Watchdog has called for a U.S. government investigation of Carrier IQ, the maker of tracking software for mobile phones, and its users.
The consumer group on Friday sent letters to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski asking their agencies to investigate the software developer, mobile operating system makers Google and Apple, and mobile carriers.
"The device many of us carry in our pockets has, simply put, been turned into a virtual spy phone," John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project director, said in an email.
Carrier IQ's software may be secretly installed on 140 million mobile phones, Simpson wrote in his letter to the FCC. The software has the ability to track phone numbers dialed, keystrokes, user location and the URLs of websites the user visits, Simpson wrote.
The use of Carrier IQ's software by mobile carriers "could be one of history's largest examples of federal wiretapping law violations," Simpson wrote.
Carrier IQ has denied collecting detailed information about individual phone users. The software measures mobile-phone network performance in an effort to help carriers deliver better service, and the company "vigorously" disagrees that it has violated wiretap laws, the company said.
"While a few individuals have identified that there is a great deal of information available to the Carrier IQ software inside the handset, our software does not record, store or transmit the contents of SMS messages, email, photographs, audio or video," the company said in a statement. "For example, we understand whether an SMS was sent accurately, but do not record or transmit the content of the SMS. We know which applications are draining your battery, but do not capture the screen."
Carrier IQ follows privacy laws and honors the privacy policies of its carrier customers, the company said.
Representatives of Apple and Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comments on Consumer Watchdog's call for an investigation.
In November, security researcher Trevor Eckhart issued a report on Carrier IQ's software, calling it a rootkit that could be used to log detailed information about a mobile-phone user's activities. Carrier IQ threatened to sue Eckhart, but later backed off.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is email@example.com.
- Lawmaker pushes consumer notification bill in wake of Carrier IQ concerns
- Goodbye 2011 ... What a year!
- Sprint disables Carrier IQ software on its handsets
- Iran tricked U.S. spy drone into landing in country, report says
- FBI never sought Carrier IQ data, director says
- Carrier IQ moves to allay fears of its tracking software
- FBI rejects FOIA request for Carrier IQ info
- Google's Schmidt calls Carrier IQ software a keylogger
- Carrier IQ downplays 2010 patent request
- 8 companies hit with lawsuit over Carrier IQ software
- The Truth About Cloud Security "Security" is the number one issue holding business leaders back from the cloud. But does the reality match the perception?
- Enable secure remote access to 3D data without sacrificing visual perfomance Design and manufacturing companies must adapt quickly to the demands of an increasingly global and competitive economy. To speed time to market for...
- Virtually Delivered High Performance 3D Graphics "A picture is worth a thousand words." That old phrase is as true today as it ever was. Pictures (i.e., those with heavy...
- Best Practices for Securing Hadoop Historically, Apache Hadoop has provided limited security capabilities. To protect sensitive data being stored and analyzed in Hadoop, security architects should use a...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!