CarrierIQ: Sprint, Apple, US Senate Respond

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We don’t usually cover the same topic twice in one day, but as we promised in our previous CarrierIQ article, we’re keeping you up-to-date on what appears to be a rapidly evolving situation!

First, Apple has officially responded to the claims that they’ve had CarrierIQ in iOS — but indicate that they no longer “support” it in iOS 5 (notice they didn’t say they’ve “removed” it — yet).

“We stopped supporting CarrierIQ with iOS 5 in most of our products and will remove it completely in a future software update. With any diagnostic data sent to Apple, customers must actively opt-in to share this information, and if they do, the data is sent in an anonymous and encrypted form and does not include any personal information. We never recorded keystrokes, messages or any other personal information for diagnostic data and have no plans to ever do so.”

Well done, Apple! By taking this action you’ve given other OEM’s the precedence to “discontinue support” for it as well. We hope they follow suit.

Next, if you think it’s just people like us who are concerned with the alleged violation of privacy, you’d be mistaken. Senator Al Franken, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and Law, has fired off a letter to the CEO of CarrierIQ. He didn’t hold any punches and has given them two weeks to answer 11 very pointed questions.

“I am very concerned by recent reports that your company’s software — preinstalled on smartphones used by millions of Americans — is logging and may be transmitting extraordinarily sensitive information from consumers’ phones.”

Lastly, Sprint has gone on the record that they do indeed use CarrierIQ in their handsets:

“Carrier IQ provides information that allows Sprint, and other carriers that use it, to analyze our network performance and identify where we should be improving service. We also use the data to understand device performance so we can figure out when issues are occurring. We collect enough information to understand the customer experience with devices on our network and how to address any connection problems, but we do not and cannot look at the contents of messages, photos, videos, etc., using this tool. The information collected is not sold and we don’t provide a direct feed of this data to anyone outside of Sprint.

“Sprint is well known for our serious commitment to respecting and protecting the privacy and security of each customer’s personally identifiable information and other customer data. A key element of this involves communicating with our customers about our information privacy practices. The Sprint privacy policy makes it clear we collect information that includes how a device is functioning and how it is being used. Carrier IQ is an integral part of the Sprint service. Sprint uses Carrier IQ to help maintain our network performance.”

Hopefully the next episode in this series will be CarrierIQ’s response to those 11 questions, comment from T-Mobile and AT&T about whether or not they require CarrierIQ on their handsets, and comment by Verizon clarifying their previous statement that they don’t have CarrierIQ on “any” of their handsets — which includes their iPhone.

Sources: 9 to 5 Mac, BGR

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video.Read more about Joe Levi here.