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.