Carrier IQ and partners hit with lawsuits

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Carrier IQ is finding itself under even greater scrutiny than its clients' customers, following allegations that its mobile tracking software is invading the privacy of phone users.

Two class-action lawsuits have been filed against it and various other companies, and it's also reported to be under investigation by European regulators.

Carrier IQ's software is used by the carriers to monitor network traffic. However, it's been claimed to be monoitoring users' locations and logging keystrokes.

In a suit filed in the Delaware District Court, Carrier IQ - along with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Apple, HTC, Samsung and Motorola - is accused of violating the Federal Wiretap Act, the Stored Electronic Communications Act, and the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The suit claims the software can collect "data about a user’s location, application use, Web browsing habits, videos watched, texts read and even the keys they press."

Another suit, filed in California, makes similar allegations.

Meanwhile, several European regulators have queried the legality of the software. The Bavarian State office for Data Protection is believed to have approached Apple asking for answers, and the British Information Commissioner and European Consumers’ Organization have also expressed concern.

Apple's already promised to remove the software from its phones.

Meanwhile, senator Ed markey has called on the FTC to investigate, and senator Al Franken has written to Carrier IQ asking it to explain itself.

"I understand the need to provide usage and diagnostic information to carriers.  I also understand that carriers can modify Carrier IQ’s software," the letter reads.

"But it appears that Carrier IQ’s software captures a broad swath of extremely sensitive information from users that would appear to have nothing to do with diagnostics — including who they are calling, the contents of the texts they are receiving, the contents of their searches, and the websites they visit."

He's demanding answers to a series of detailed questions about what information is being gathered, how it's protected and with whom it's shared.

The allegations are still unproven, with carrier IQ insisting that it does not record the content of messages or collect keystrokes.