Carrier IQ may have been hoping to escape its latest scandal unscratched. But lawsuits are already being brought up against the mobile firm. Carrier IQ’s software on Android and older iOS devices was meant to collect information on smartphone owners to help mobile operators improve their services. But there is such a thing as collecting too much information. As Carrier IQ has admitted, the company watches a lot of things that happen on smartphones. It even listens to SMS messages.
Andrew Coward, VP of marketing at Carrier IQ has told The INQUIRER that the software can be put on almost any phone:
We have a generic software framework that can get loaded on pretty much any type of mobile device and that gets implemented by handset manufacturers usually at the request of operators but not necessarily always.
While Carrier IQ admits that it collects a lot of information on smartphones, it claims the data is not being used to gather intelligence about individual users (which may or may not be true). Apple certainly does not want any of this headache. It has announced that it has stopped supporting Carrier IQ with iOS 5 and plans to completely remove it in the future.
Carrier IQ won’t be let off that easily though. A few Senators and Congressmen have already raised questions about the nature of this software. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has been advised to intervene to address such practices. Class action lawsuits are flying too. One group has already sued Samsung and HTC for using the software to intercept incoming text messages and capture users’ keystrokes.
Apple may have stopped supporting Carrier IQ recently. But it is being asked to answer some tough questions in Germany. Regulators in the U.K, France, and other European countries will also look into this issue. Some older Apple devices may still have Carrier IQ running on them. Users can block the software by choosing the appropriate option under:
General Settings > About >Diagnostics & Usage > Don’t Send
It will be interesting to see how other carriers respond to this latest Carrier IQ debacle. This is a headache most of these companies would want to avoid at all costs at this point.
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