Carrier IQ, the beleaguered wireless metrics provider, “vigorously disagrees” with anyone who says it violates wiretap laws — and insists its software “makes your phone better” by delivering information on device performance to wireless operators.
The company admits a great deal of information on a cellphone is “available” to it. But Carrier IQ re-assertedthat its software doesn’t record or transmit any actual content.
In a video posted on YouTube, system administrator Trevor Eckhart appeared to demonstrate that Carrier IQlogs users’ every keystroke. Carrier IQ denies this, and some security experts agree. Dan Rosenberg, a senior consultant at Vital Security Research, told the Los Angeles Times that he had reverse-engineered the software and found that it didn’t record keystrokes, but used “keystroke events” as part of the application.
What that means: Carrier IQ’s software can confirm when a button was pressed, but that doesn’t mean it’s sending a log of those button presses back to the company’s servers.
Now Carrier IQ explicitly states that this doesn’t happen: “Our software does not record, store or transmit the contents of SMS messages, email, photographs, audio or video,” the company’s statement reads.
As a matter of law, Carrier IQ says, your privacy is protected. As a condition of its contracts with carriers, personal information must be respected; Carrier IQ says it operates under the laws of the “applicable jurisdiction.”
The three biggest cellphone user complaints are dropped calls, poor customer service, and short battery life, Carrier IQ says. Describing itself as an “agent of the operators,” the company says its software can help wireless providers optimize better address all of those complaints by providing them with information about exactly how well devices run on their networks.
Is Carrier IQ a benign facilitator or the mobile equivalent of Big Brother? And what should happen to the company now? Let us know in the comments.