The last couple of weeks have seen mobile software and analytics company Carrier IQ generating some unwelcome headlines. It took legal action against security researcher Trevor Eckhart, who revealed how the software was embedded in many mobile devices, before withdrawing its action and apologising.
At the time Carrier IQ issued a statement that explained how its software helped networks to identify dropped calls, poor service and other problems that affected battery life. Data wasn’t sold to third parties and there was no keystroke recording, tracking or real-time reporting.
It’s now published an updated statement to clarify its position:
We measure and summarize performance of the device to assist Operators in delivering better service.
While a few individuals have identified that there is a great deal of information available to the Carrier IQ software inside the handset, our software does not record, store or transmit the contents of SMS messages, email, photographs, audio or video. For example, we understand whether an SMS was sent accurately, but do not record or transmit the content of the SMS. We know which applications are draining your battery, but do not capture the screen.
“Having examined the Carrier IQ implementation it is my opinion that allegations of keystroke collection or other surveillance of mobile device user’s content are erroneous,” asserts Rebecca Bace of Infidel Inc. a respected security expert.
Privacy is protected. Consumers have a trusted relationship with Operators and expect their personal information and privacy to be respected. As a condition of its contracts with Operators, CIQ operates exclusively within that framework and under the laws of the applicable jurisdiction. The data we gather is transmitted over an encrypted channel and secured within our customers’ networks or in our audited and customer-approved facilities.
Carrier IQ is aware of various commentators alleging Carrier IQ has violated wiretap laws and we vigorously disagree with these assertions.
Our software makes your phone better by delivering intelligence on the performance of mobile devices and networks to help the Operators provide optimal service efficiency. We are deployed by leading Operators to monitor and analyze the performance of their services and mobile devices to ensure the system (network and handsets) works to optimal efficiency. Operators want to provide better service to their customers, and information from the device and about the network is critical for them to do this. While in-network tools deliver information such as the location of calls and call quality, they do not provide information on the most important aspect of the service - the mobile device itself.
Carrier IQ acts as an agent for the Operators. Each implementation is different and the diagnostic information actually gathered is determined by our customers – the mobile Operators. Carrier IQ does not gather any other data from devices.
CIQ is the consumer advocate to the mobile operator, explaining what works and what does not work. Three of the main complaints we hear from mobile device users are (1) dropped calls, (2) poor customer service, and (3) having to constantly recharge the device. Our software allows Operators to figure out why problems are occurring, why calls are dropped, and how to extend the life of the battery. When a user calls to complain about a problem, our software helps Operators’ customer service more quickly identify the specific issue with the phone.
Carrier IQ’s Mobile Intelligence platform is currently deployed with more than 150 million devices worldwide.