Despite the company's assertion that it isn't stealthily collecting user data and that the collected information is aggregated rather than linked to specific mobile device users, federal regulators are being asked to investigate.
troubles for mobile software vendor Carrier IQ continue mounting as the
lawsuits roll in and lawmakers and regulators ask questions. The startup few
had ever heard of before last week has been named in at least eight lawsuits
over its monitoring software that has been found installed in millions of
of the lawsuits filed Dec. 1 in United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Missouri named HTC and Carrier IQ as defendants and accused them of
unlawfully intercepting communications from private mobile phones, smartphones
lawsuit filed in District Court for the Northern District of California named
HTC, Samsung and Carrier IQ as defendants. Both lawsuits accused the companies
of violating the Federal Wiretap Act, which can result in damages of $100 a day
California lawsuit also said the tracking software is in violation of
California's Unfair Business Practice Act. Other lawsuits filed in Delaware and
California named Apple, Motorola, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile. A Delaware
suit sought to block carriers and phone makers from using the software.
St. Louis suit claims the defendants "intercepted, recorded and collected
information concerning the substance, purport or meaning of the electronic
communications transmitted without the authorization of the parties to those
published a report in late November accusing the software startup
of installing software onto smartphones that allowed phone manufacturers and
carriers to keep track of key presses, browsing history, SMS logs and location
data without the user's knowledge or permission. Carrier IQ's software
runs in the background and is very difficult to remove, according to Eckhart.
have serious concerns about the Carrier IQ software and whether it is secretly
collecting users' personal information, such as the content of text messages,"
Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said in a statement that accompanied the letter he
wrote to the Federal Trade Commission requesting an investigation into the
IQ has denied the worst of the claims, claiming the software delivers metrics
and aggregated data to operators to help improve services and does not collect
personal information about users. "We measure and summarize performance of
the device to assist Operators in delivering better service," Carrier IQ
said in a statement, noting that the software makes the phone
"better" by delivering intelligence that operators can use to provide
"optimal service efficiency."
software does not record, store or transmit the contents of SMS messages,
email, photographs, audio or video, according to Carrier IQ.