updated 04:10 pm EST, Fri December 2, 2011
FTC asked to see what Carrier IQ knows
Carrier IQ encountered more government scrutiny Friday after Congressman Ed Markey sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission. The House representative asked Chairman Jon Leibowitz for an investigation into what personal information if any was being collected and how it was being used. He was concerned as the co-Chair of a Congressional Privacy Caucus that Carrier IQ's background software might violate privacy and wasn't
"Consumers neither have knowledge of this data collection, nor what Carrier IQ intends to do with this information," Markey claimed.
The request appeared to come based on knowledge from November 29 and not developments in the past two days. He believed that RIM and Nokia were both using Carrier IQ despite their both denying use, although they might not have full control over what carriers demand must be installed.
Carrier IQ for its part has denied logging private data. If true, its tool may see the contents of calls and messages but only record the connection surrounding them, such as when they started or stopped and whether or not there were any signal drops. Markey's request would lose some of its strength if only anonymous data is being sent to Carrier IQ's servers.
Senator Al Franken's complaint from Thursday is more likely to create problems for Carrier IQ, since just intercepting the information may be enough to trigger one or more specific violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, pen register statute, and Stored Communications Act.
FTC officials haven't yet said what if any action they plan to take.