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Sprint stops collecting Carrier IQ data, leaves software in

updated 04:05 pm EST, Fri December 16, 2011

Sprint backs off from active Carrier IQ use

Sprint in a statement Friday said the carrier had stopped collecting Carrier IQ data from phones. Representative Stephanie Vinge-Walsh explained to Android Central that the software was still in place, but the company had stopped picking up cellular data. She drew a direct link between public reaction and the move, noting that the carrier had "weighed customer concerns" before making the switch.

"At Sprint, we work hard to earn the trust of our customers and believe this course of action is in the best interest of our business and customers," Vinge-Walsh said.

Signs have emerged that Sprint might be pulling Carrier IQ from phones, but with 17 total devices, considerably more evidence would need to emerge without an official plan. If the data halt is permanent, however, Sprint would have no reason to keep the software inside.

Many of the concerns raised early on about Carrier IQ possibly logging messages have since been reduced as overblown. Technical explanations have still raised worries, since the service is sending out text messages through a bug, even if the messages are unreadable. HTC phones have been the main concern as they might be unintentionally saving data Carrier IQ collects on the device, including keystrokes.

AT&T and T-Mobile so far haven't shown any intention to pull the software out, although they have also emphasized how they don't collect personal information. Their continued use might still lead to trouble after Senator Al Franken said he was still "very troubled" by what he had learned Carrier IQ might collect.

Most of the devices under scrutiny use Android or the BlackBerry platform. Sprint will have never put Carrier IQ on the iPhone, having only received the device with iOS 5 and the code already disabled.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. facebook_Gregory

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2011

    0

    Really?

    What about our Trust before this went public? Ugh.

  1. BigMac2

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Dec 2000

    0

    Sprint is missing the point.

    I don't think anybody fell better by knowing Sprint as stop collecting data but the software is still in place and still be used by carriers.

  1. AlenShapiro

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2000

    +1

    What do they actually mean?

    They may have "stopped collecting" the data but does the phone still send it? "Stopped Collecting" may actually mean stopped filtering or parsing and not actually stopped gathering or disabled at the phone. Perhaps Sprint should define their terms. There's far too much wiggle room with the words they are using that may allow for plausible deniability later.

    Unfortunately I am just as concerned with Apple's statement that the iPhone no longer uses Carrier IQ. Might this mean they have substituted the facility with another of similar functionality, perhaps built in-house?

    Sorry for the cynicism but restablishment of trust requires unambiguous disclosure.

  1. redgirl

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2011

    0

    comment title

    While this is something that has raised the concern of the public, I can't help but wonder if we, as consumers and governments, could have prevented this whole debacle. With the proper laws in place, companies could be required to disclose information regarding collection of data, as AlenShapiro says, in clear and precise words, to their customers. It is common knowledge that the new trend to increase the efficiency of marketing is to better target the audience. The more data collected, the easier it is to correlate spending and viewing habits with demographics such as age, s**, and heritage. For example, the data may show correlation between users of a beauty product and young females who also visit Facebook regularly and would place more of their ads on Facebook and reduce them elsewhere increasing their effectiveness.

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