Federal Probe Of Carrier IQ Launched

by Zack Kaldveer, CFC Communications Director, Privacy Revolt

For all the background you could ever need on the Carrier IQ controversy check out my recent posts on the subject, starting from earliest to the latest, here, here, and here.

As we know, executives from Carrier IQ ‘ the company whose spying software was secretly installed in as many as 150 million cellphones ‘ went to Washington to answer questions posed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.

As I have written too many times to count on this blog, a lot of this comes down to data ownership and control – as in its OUR data and it should be in OUR control. Clearly, in the case of Carrier IQ and increasing numbers of telecom companies, third party marketers, and many more, we are seeing the invasion of individual privacy on a mass scale, including locational tracking and web search monitoring.

Now to the latest news: The FTC and FCC are looking into this matter closely…but we need and deserve more than just a questioning of Carrier IQ, but an investigation into what companies like AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are doing with our data as well.

With that, let’s get to the Washington Posts coverage of these new inquiries:

Federal investigators are probing allegations that Carrier IQ software found on about 150 million cellphones tracked user activity and sent the information to cellphone companies without informing consumers, according to government officials…The FTC inquiry was confirmed by officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because it is private. An FTC spokeswoman said she could not confirm or deny whether the agency was investigating Carrier IQ. But a spokesman for Carrier IQ said company executives were cooperating with federal agencies.

Carrier IQ has said that its software is not designed to capture keystrokes or the content of messages but that in some cases that might have happened by accident. The data are intended to help improve the user experience with smartphones, the company said.

Woods said Carrier IQ chief executive Larry Lenhart and Coward met with regulators at the FTC and the FCC. The Carrier IQ executives also met with the staffs of three senators ‘ Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) ‘ who each had written letters of concern to Lenhart.

Three of the four major cellular providers ‘ AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint ‘ have said they use the company’s software in line with their own privacy policies. A Verizon spokesman said the program is not on any of the company’s mobile devices. Apple has said it would remove Carrier IQ from i