The Carrier IQ scandal is quickly growing out of proportion with all parties involved with the company trying to distance themselves as quickly as possible, and the company on the other hand pointing a finger at carriers. Now, both parties have spoken and all major US carriers except for Verizon have confirmed that they are using the controversial application. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have all required the app to be installed on handsets, but they cite slightly different reasons for that.
Sprint was more willing to clear things up and Spokeswoman Stephanie Vinge-Walsh detailed how the carrier uses Carrier IQ:
T-Mobile, on the other hand, claims that it’s using the software to troubleshoot performance issues for the device or network. "T-Mobile does not use this diagnostic tool to obtain the content of text, email or voice messages, or the specific destinations of a customers' internet activity, nor is the tool used for marketing purposes," the carrier insisted.
The catch about Carrier IQ’s app is that it’s hard to detect and also hard to remove. At the same time, it allows carriers to easily collect sensitive data including your keystrokes, SMS messages and visited websites. Interestingly, this happens even in airplane mode when the phone is not connected to the network. Carrier IQ has tried to deny reality and still defends the position that it’s app doesn’t do all of that, but is rather used only so that carriers can detect dropped calls and battery drain.
On the Carrier IQ side of things, AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski contacted executives at Carrier IQ, who confirmed that it’s all about network providers. They were very specific distancing themselves when speaking about who makes the rules about the gathered information:
“It’s the operator that determines what data is collected. They make that decision based on their privacy standards and their agreement with their users, and we implement it,” Carrier IQ CEO Larry Lenhart said. “We capture only the data they specify, and provide it to them. We don’t capture more than that,” he stressed.
Below, you’ll find a fresh press release from Carrier IQ, finally being a bit more elaborate about the use of its software. After that, follows a video by the developer Trevor Eckhart who found out about the issue, showing what the software is capable of doing on his HTC EVO 3D. What do you make out of the Carrier IQ's scandal, are you worried about your privacy?