Mobile
Commentary
12/2/2011
12:28 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
50%
50%

Carrier IQ: Senate Demands Answers

U.S. Senate weighs in on the Carrier IQ phone-snooping issue.

Carrier IQ has received a letter from the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. This committee has a number of roles, and the privacy issues raised in this matter would fall under Internet privacy and possibly federal criminal law. Senator Al Franken drafted the letter as he is chairman of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law.

Given the software has been demonstrated to collect certain keystrokes, intercept SMS messages, and even record information in browsers that should be encrypted, it is easy to see how Internet privacy issues are raised. As Mathew Schwartz wrote Thursday, these actions might run afoul of wire tap laws as well.

Senator Franken has asked Carrier IQ to respond to a series of questions, and then ever so politely ended the letter with "I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter." Translated into English that means "you need to drop whatever you are doing and respond to this letter or face a Senatorial subpoena."

[Carrier IQ is an insane breach of enterprise trust, says IT leader Jonathan Feldman. See what he says must change, in Carrier IQ: Mobile App Crap Must Stop. ]

To make sure Carrier IQ understands this is not the usual government inquiry, Franken writes that the logging and transmitting of data "may violate federal privacy laws, including the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This is potentially a serous matter."

The letter goes on to pose a number of questions, like are user's locations logged, is the content of inbound and outbound emails and SMS messages logged, are search queries logged, etc.?

Senator Franken wants to know what is transmitted off of the phone to carriers, Carrier IQ's servers, phone manufacturers, operating system providers, or third parties.

The deadline for answering this letter is December 14. Depending on what the answers are, Carrier IQ may satisfy the senate committee, but I don't think there are any answers that will satisfy users. At this point, what carrier or manufacturer would still want this software on their phones?

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
mlesnick100
50%
50%
mlesnick100,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/3/2011 | 11:48:04 PM
re: Carrier IQ: Senate Demands Answers
Here's the BIG Question: Was NEWS CORPORATION a CUSTOMER of CARRIER IQ? If they were, there is your PHONE HACKING SCANDAL within the USA.
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.