As so often happens in the tech world, Carrier IQ came out of obscurity seemingly overnight--but not in a good way. In early December, the company suddenly found itself competing on the front page of Google News along with Lindsey Lohan as a recipient of the splashiest headlines.
The company's smartphone monitoring software, which stored Web browsing information and related data in the name of improving wireless network performance, came under fire for being hard to find--and even harder to remove. Carrier IQ first threatened to sue a security researcher about his initial findings on the software utility, then softened its tone. As of Dec. 14, Carrier IQ had released a 19-page report, detailing what data it tracks, and said that it didn't share that data with police or entities such as the FBI.
InformationWeek's Jonathan Feldman dubbed the Carrier IQ episode "the Jerry Sandusky of mobility, an insane breach of trust," for enterprise IT, and called on device makers to adopt Apple's no-crapware approach.
Looks like Carrier IQ execs won't be having a very merry holiday---but a lucky public relations firm or two might make a mint in 2012 trying to restore the company's image. --Laurianne McLaughlin