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Apple Named in Class Action Lawsuit Over Carrier IQ Privacy Issues

A group of three law firms late last week announced (via BGR) the filing of a class action lawsuit against Apple, Carrier IQ, and five other companies over privacy issues related to Carrier IQ's logging software The list of defendants also includes hardware manufacturers HTC, Samsung, and Motorola, and carriers AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
The carriers and manufacturers last month were caught willfully violating customers’ privacy rights in direct violation of federal law. A technology blogger in Connecticut discovered last month that software designed and sold by California-based Carrier IQ, Inc. was secretly tracking personal and sensitive information of the cell phone users without the consent or knowledge of the users. On Nov. 30, 2011, the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary said in a letter to Carrier IQ that “these actions may violate federal privacy laws.” It added, “this is potentially a very serious matter.”
While it appears that the version of Carrier IQ's software installed on iOS devices is much less capable than that found on Android devices, concerns have still arisen over just what information is being logged and transmitted back to Carrier IQ to be passed on to carriers. For its part, Apple has claimed that it has stopped supporting Carrier IQ in iOS 5 and that it will remove all remaining traces of the service in a future iOS update.

Much of the focus has been on Carrier IQ itself and the carriers that have partnered with the company, but hardware companies have also become involved in the controversy. German regulators have already begun pressing Apple for details on its usage of Carrier IQ data, and other authorities will likely also turn to Apple and other hardware companies as the story continues to develop.

Top Rated Comments

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46 months ago
I loathe Carrier IQ but this is like a 5 star orgy for lawyer trolls, Satan's gift for Christmas!
Rating: 17 Votes
46 months ago
Good. Regardless of how limited Apple's implementation was of Carrier IQ, they still used it. I'm sick and tired of the tech companies using their customers for research revenue after charging us for the phone and service in the first place.

I hope they make an example out of all the companies listed in this suit. Maybe that'll hold them at bay, for a while.
Rating: 11 Votes
46 months ago
I would jump on to it with any phone that I have owned using it. It really upsets me that on one hand they sell you banking apps and on the other they have the ability to record your actions.
Rating: 9 Votes
46 months ago
I welcome this lawsuit as it will hopefully bring to light exactly what each company does. The problem is I don't believe a word any company says about what they measure, record, store, analyze, etc.
Rating: 7 Votes
46 months ago

Removing this feature in a prior OS does not abstain Apple from litigation.

But having the user have to choose to turn the feature on from the start does.
Rating: 6 Votes
46 months ago
Android is their OS. All those carriers are using Android.


Droid platform is Carrier IQ free, Verizon doesn't install it on they phones

The public stack of the Droid platform is Carrier IQ free. The Corporate Stack that goes on every carrier is not.
Rating: 5 Votes
46 months ago
Uh oh, spaghetti-o's.
Rating: 5 Votes
46 months ago
"these actions may violate federal privacy laws" -- what part of "may violate" don't these guys understand. Politicians are always shooting their mouths off without thinking, and IIRC, this guy has a past history of it where Apple is concerned.

Apple does not allow carriers/networks to mess about with iOS as others do, so would have included C-IQ as part of the OS. I would assume that the decision to exclude it may have been influenced by the whatever-gate affair a few months ago.

Every time I set up a new iPhone, I get asked if I want to allow my phone to send diagnostic info back to Apple and I always say no. I also install PrivaCY on all jailbroken devices to stop Apps from collecting & sending data.

With regards to Verizon: just because their handsets didn't have C-IQ installed doesn't mean they didn't use a competitors product or even develop something in-house, or commission a software house to produce some tracking software for them.

All carriers know when and where you initiate or answer a call -- until I moved to iPhone, my network used to give me a refund for any dropped calls, and knew whether the call terminated early or unexpectedly due to network fault or my pressing the END button. This facility was offered to me 6 or 7 years ago, which means that the very least my network has been logging are all key presses from my phone.

This whole thing is a diversion, because the biggest culprit in privacy invasion is your very own friendly government, voted in by you.

The fact is that all our governments listen in to every call made over landlines and cell networks in the world, and they monitor and can reprint every fax in the world (my understanding is that they can't do that with satellite phones, but who knows?).

The UK has GCHQ -- and they're not overly secretive about monitoring calls and faxes. We know, for example, that their computers are set up to process millions of calls a minute and are tuned to pick up certain key words before flagging the conversation up for a human intervention. Just make a call over your landline and use words that a terrist would use and you'll have the secret services surveilling and/or knocking on your door PDQ.

All western countries cooperate with each other, and most European listening posts pass details to the US, where no doubt a system supposedly called e-c-h-e-l-o-n may already have picked up the same conversations. Also, just for fun, do a search for "e-c-h-e-l-o-n and industrial espionage" (don't forget to remove the hyphens).

As they keep telling us: you don't have to worry if you have nothing to hide.

PS: You can learn all about GCHQ at their very friendly website (check the way info is presented):
Rating: 4 Votes
46 months ago

For those that didn't read the original article, this utility appears to capture keystrokes by bypassing the software stack and thus the encryption, and sends those keystrokes unencryped to the vendor. This means passwords and private information is sent. Unencryped.

Nothing of this, absolutely zero, is in regard to Apple's use of Carrier IQ technology.
They didn't collect keystrokes, they didn't bypass any encryption, they sent it only to them selves, in an anonymous and encrypted fashion. They told the end user that they did this and the functionality is turned off if the end user didn't agree to it.
Rating: 4 Votes
46 months ago
Maybe that explains those sudden data bursts that AT&T customers noticed? You know, when your phone sends like 15 MB of data out of the blue at 3 AM in the morning.... and you call customer service and they insist that you were up checking your email....
Rating: 4 Votes

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