My prior post was to alert you folks with cell phones and other mobile devices about a particular piece of software present on your devices.
This is a bit of software installed on millions of phones and other devices that has access to a huge amount of user data. As developers hinted for months and
which Mr. Eckhart eventually proved on camera, the software is aware of SMS content, secure web traffic, contacts, key presses, and more.
All this, we have been asked to believe, in the never ending quest to provide better service (fewer dropped calls) to the customer.
Carrier IQ developed the software. Who asked them to do so and who eagerly bought it and installed it on your devices? Your carrier, and in one case an OS maker (Apple).
Which carriers are involved?
Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile.
Which handset makers are involved?
Apple (prior to iOS 5), HTC, Samsung (some models, per carrier request), Motorola (spin: Only per operator requirement), RIM (spin: If any has been found, it was installed without RIM’s knowledge or permission).
What does all this boil down to? In my opinion (spin: Derived from Sgt. Schultz’s line: All I know is based on second hand information only), the carriers are the ones wearing the black hats, but CarrierIQ isn’t off the hook. Not by a long shot.
“Facilitation” is the word I hunted for some time. What does that mean? Well, say a person kills another with an automatic weapon (for the argument). The dead person’s family sues the killer and the firearm manufacturer. The manufacturer states, “The proper use of the weapon is hunting and self-defense. We cannot be held responsible for the regrettable death.”
That’s like I. G. Farben saying, “Zyklon-B (Potassium cyanide which generates cyanide gas) is clearly marked as a rat poison. Any use to harm people is without our knowledge or complicity.”
The purpose of a firearm is to harm (animal or human) offensively or defensively. The purpose of Zyklon-B was to murder innocent men, women, children and babies (may they rest in peace).
The purpose of CarrierIQ’s software was tracking. They actively advertised, negotiated, sold and gave installation instruction to the carriers. Any other statement is mendacious.
As for the carriers? They are guilty of collecting your information without your explicit consent. What they did with it will come out. They need to be called out on it, fined and they need to be sued by the folks whose info was “collected for their benefit”.
If it had been one intellectually, morally and ethically challenged carrier – well, the remedy is relatively simple.
It was not. It was industry wide. This says a lot, and none of it good. That needs a systemic remedy.
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology & the Law, said Eckhart's findings show the need for Congress to pass legislation protecting the sensitive information of consumers and that CarrierIQ has a lot of questions to answer. Granted, they do. However, the wrath of the internet (and our great Solons) should be more rightfully pointed at the carriers. The link to Sen. Franken’s letter to CarrierIQ’s CEO led me to the message “This is a damaged file” and it wouldn’t download (pdf) for me to view.
I’m letting my carrier know I want the software off my phone, and none like it in the future. You might think of doing the same.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2397128,00.asp - Which devices/carriers/hand sets are involved)