Congress not initially happy with Apple response
Energy and Commerce Committee members GK Butterfield and Henry Waxman sent a letter to Apple Wednesday asking it for more information over ongoing app privacy concerns. The two said that a reply given by Apple on March 2 "does not answer" some of the questions they had asked about what privileges apps have over photos and tracking. Apple was asked to provide representatives who would brief staff on the committee about Apple's efforts.
Markey intros cellphone privacy act draft bill
Congressman Ed Markey, known for criticizing Carrier IQ and the carriers that support it, has now proposed a draft bill (PDF) that aims to protect the privacy of cellphone users. The Mobile Device Privacy Act would order companies to publicly disclose whether they are using tracking software such as Carrier IQ, according to a Monday report found in the The Hill. It would also require them to reveal what information is collected and give users a consent option.
Update process expected to be complete in 10 days
Sprint has confirmed that it is set to release over-the-air updates for Samsung's Epic 4G handset and HTC's Evo 4G and Evo Design 4G models. The updates primarily focus on removing Carrier IQ's controversial tracking software, though the company suggests it has also "bundled up a few other fixes."
HTC confirms Carrier IQ exit on Sprint
On the heels of a discovery that an update to the Evo 3D pulled Carrier IQ, HTC has confirmed in a statement that all of its Android phones on Sprint will have the controversial diagnostic tool removed. It promised The Verge "maintenance releases" starting this month that would drop Carrier IQ at the same time as they provided security fixes and overall updates. How long it would take to update every phone wasn't mentioned.
Evo 3D update removes Carrier IQ, more to come?
A recent update for the HTC Evo 3D handset has removed the controversial Carrier IQ software, users over on the Android Central forum have found. The update was expected, and backs Sprint's earlier statement that it will back off from actively using the app. The HTC IQAgent and IQRD apps are now showing up as 0KB in the Manage Applications screen.
EFF urging public to send in Carrier IQ profiles
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released a call to action this week that prompts users to check which Carrier IQ profile is preloaded onto their smartphones. It wants to collect all the different profiles of Carrier IQ in the field and is asking users who find it on their phones to send them a copy. Other than the copy, they need to know which phone and network it was from and where on the phone's file system it resided.
Company criticized for hiding software
After speaking with Carrier IQ and its customers, including carriers and handaset makers, Senator Al Franken has reportedly concluded that the central issues relate to awareness and control. In an interview with The Verge, the Minnesota senator suggests consumers should be informed of what information is being gathered from their cellphones.
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.
Telcos give answers, but they raise more questions
Following a formal petition from Senator Al Franken to handset makers and carriers in early December regarding their use of the Carrier IQ tracking app, AT&T, HTC, Samsung and Sprint have all submitted responses. Franken had written to the companies concerned that the Carrier IQ software pre-loaded on certain phones was a threat to user privacy. Although each party offered up a range of responses to the 13 questions Franken had asked, Franken still had a number of concerns arising out of the information he was provided.
RIM details process of removing Carrier IQ
Canadian BlackBerry smartphone maker RIM maintains it never gave carriers permission to install Carrier IQ software on its devices and has now detailed how users can get rid of it. T-Mobile installs the software on three BlackBerry handsets, including the Bold 9900, the Curve 9360 and the Torch 9810. Users need to download an app called IQ Agent, which will also detect and remove other third-party apps.
Carrier IQ says it asked FTC and FCC first
New government investigations into Carrier IQ are voluntary, the company claimed in a statement Wednesday. It had actively looked for meetings with the FCC and FTC to "educate" the two on how its cellphone diagnostic system works, the firm told AllThingsD. Congressman Ed Markey had asked for an investigation, but there hadn't been an active effort from the FTC that it knew of.
FCC, FTC involved in investigating privacy
The US government is now involved in investigating the presence of Carrier IQ software on cellphones, says the Washington Post. The newspaper mainly cites anonymous government officials, but also Carrier IQ spokeswoman Mira Woods. "We are complying with all investigations at this time as we have nothing to hide," she says. "We have been completely transparent through this process."
Samsung Epic 4G Touch may drop CIQ in next update
Users who obtained a pre-release update for the Samsung Epic 4G Touch have discovered that it might not have Carrier IQ. Scanning from XDA-Developers members using third-party apps doesn't show the usual red flags. The discovery is tentative and could point to either a version that escapes detection or to a temporary removal during testing.
Carrier IQ goes into depth on service
Carrier IQ went beyond its earlier explanations late Monday with a detailed white paper (below) discussing what it does. Among detailes, it mentioned that a "bug" might collect SMS messages by accident if they come in during either a call or a simultaneous data exchange. It stressed that the messages were part of deep signalling traffic and "not human readable."
FBI may use Carrier IQ to pursue suspects
The FBI in a denial of a Freedom of Information Act request may have indirectly confirmed that it uses Carrier IQ's diagnostic info to track suspects in investigations. The agency told MuckRock that it was reportedly exempt because disclosing its policies surrounding Carrier IQ might jeopardize ongoing investigations. An appeal is underway to try and force the release of information.
December 14th deadline applies
Minnesota Senator Al Franken has sent letters to several more companies involved in the Carrier IQ scandal, reports say. Franken is in charge of a Senate privacy panel, and has issued new requests to AT&T, HTC, Samsung, and Sprint, in addition to one sent earlier to Carrier IQ itself. The new parties are being asked to explain how they're using the Carrier IQ technology, and what data they're gathering through it.
Companies tracked 'without consent,' suit charges
Three lawfirms have jointly filed a class action lawsuit over Carrier IQ, according to an announcement. The suit is the broadest yet to involve the recently-exposed cellphone tracking software. Whereas a previous case was filed against just HTC, Samsung, and Carrier IQ itself, the new one also brings in Apple and Motorola, plus US cellular carriers AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Carrier IQ is excluded.
T-Mobile puts CIQ on BlackBerry, Galaxy, myTouch
A leaked memo to T-Mobile staff has confirmed that it and possibly other carriers are contradicting RIM's policies on phone tracking. Although BlackBerry designs leave RIM without Carrier IQ, TmoNews saw word that the Curve 9360, Torch 9810, and Bold 9900 all have the diagnostic app loaded inside. While not necessarily suggesting that RIM was misleading, it does show that the company has given away control to the carriers.
Carrier IQ puts attention back on phone firms
Carrier IQ followed up its technical discussion of how its system works with an implication that phone designers like HTC were compromising the security of its device tracking. In a chat with The Verge, marketing VP Andrew Coward was careful not to mention HTC by name but gave strong clues that a standard Android log file containing the normally unsaved information had to have been populated by HTC with the tracking data. HTC's software in this view was making copies of whatever the Carrier IQ programming interface saw.
Carrier IQ gets technical but skips key issue
Carrier IQ marketing VP Andrew Coward in an interview late Friday went into much more detail on its smartphone monitoring process. He likened what was happening for The Register to a fishing boat looking only for bigger fish, where Carrier IQ's tracking was only keeping information that was directly relevant to the call and data checks. It did see the stream of messages and numbers, but it was only looking for specific one-time codes for sending troubleshooting information.
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
HTC and Samsung targets of privacy class actions
Carrier IQ and its partners may have faced repercussions for policies Thursday after it was sued in Chicago (below) and St. Louis over its data tracking controversy. The potential class actions from Erin Janek and others accuse Carrier IQ, HTC, and Samsung of violating the Federal Wiretap Act by intercepting data and voice without owners' permissions. They take the position that Carrier IQ's software, which on Android is hidden and not normally removable, was recording keystrokes and messages.
State may accept Apple promise to drop software
Germany's Bavarian State Authority for Data Protection has sent a letter to Apple, formally requesting information about Carrier IQ, says the head of the government body, Thomas Kranig. "We read in the press about the privacy concerns the software may pose and decided to ask Apple about the details," he explains. "If Apple decided to cease the use, all the better."
Carrier IQ claims it violates no laws
Carrier IQ in a statement late Thursday had already tried to counter possible legal investigations with a statement hoping to talk down fears over what its software does. Tapping "respected security expert" Rebecca Bace from Infidel for outside assessment, it said that while information like keystrokes, messages, phone numbers, and websites passed through the software, it wasn't actually recording that content. All information was encrypted when it sent out, the company said.
Carrier IQ and Google decline responsibility
Carrier IQ and Google together tried to push the broader direction of the Carrier IQ investigation towards the carriers themselves. In a new letter, Senator Al Franken said he was now asking AT&T, HTC, Samsung, and Sprint about what information they were collecting with Carrier IQ. While Franken didn't absolve Carrier IQ, he wanted to include the carrier and phone makers as they "subsequently modified and actually installed" its software, the company told him.
Carrier IQ may have more formal stance soon
Carrier IQ offered a brief promise Thursday that it should have a more formal answer to the rapidly escalating device tracking scandal. Marketing VP Andrew Coward told The Verge the company would "like to be as open as we can" on what information the company was tracking. Until then, the company would "stand exactly by" its earlier denials of scope, he said.
Senator says Carrier IQ may be in trouble
Carrier IQ's problems mounted dramatically on Thursday after Senator Al Franken sent a letter to the company demanding answers as to the company's extensive phone logging practices. He was concerned that Carrier IQ might be violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the pen register statute, and Stored Communications Act by recording without consent not just diagnostic information but phone numbers, text messages, web addresses, and the location. Carrier IQ's earlier denials that it wasn't tracking keystrokes or personal content were "especially concerning" given evidence showing just the the opposite, Franken said.
Carrier IQ may have logging code in iOS too
The circumstances surrounding Carrier IQ's device tracking code spread partly to Apple on Wednesday night after jailbreaker Grant Paul found references to it in iOS. In iOS (iPhone OS) 3.1.3, users can find both an IQAgent log and references to collector.sky.carrieriq.com, presumably a server that takes logs from the phones. It still exists as of iOS 5, although the collector site address been moved to within the /usr/bin/awd_ice# series of files rather than an IQAgent.
Company apologizes to security researcher
Software maker Carrier IQ has reversed its stance regarding a security researcher, Trevor Eckhart, who criticized the company's mobile tracking utilities. The company issued a press release formally withdrawing its cease-and-desist demands and apologizing to Eckhart and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which vowed to defend him in court if the conflict intensified.
Researcher threatened for publicizing discovery
Software company Carrier IQ has reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to Android security researcher Trevor Eckhart, threatening him with legal action for publicly questioning the company's covert tracking tools. The letter claims Eckhart is violating copyrights by reposting Carrier IQ training materials, which are also available to all visitors at the company's website.