Carrier IQ denies reports of FTC probe
Carrier IQ, the firm behind controversial software measuring mobile analytics data, is denying reports that it is the target of a Federal Trade Commission investigation.
According to allegations by security researcher Trevor Eckhart, the Carrier IQ app secretly records user behaviors across more than 140 million mobile handsets. Carrier IQ denies any wrongdoing, maintaining that its services count and measure operational information and do not record keystrokes or provide tracking tools. In addition to four lawsuits alleging Carrier IQ's software violates federal and state user privacy laws, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) is lobbying the FTC to investigate the firm's practices.
Carrier IQ confirms that executives met Wednesday with FTC and Federal Communications Commission officials. "We are complying with all investigations at this time as we have nothing to hide," Carrier IQ spokesperson Mira Woods said in an email to The Washington Post. "We have been completely transparent through this process."
After the Post reported the FTC has launched an official investigation into Carrier IQ, the company issued a denial stating "This week CarrierIQ sought meetings with the FTC and FCC to educate the two agencies about the functionality of its software and answer any and all questions. Although Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), co-Chairman of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, has asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the practices of Carrier IQ, we are not aware of an official investigation into Carrier IQ at this time."
Woods also told The New York Times "We were misquoted in The Washington Post. We are not under investigation." The Post maintains the FTC inquiry was confirmed by officials who spoke on condition of anonymity--an FTC spokesperson said the agency could neither confirm nor deny whether it is probing Carrier IQ's practices.
Carrier IQ faces lawsuits in multiple U.S. states. A lawsuit filed in federal court in San Jose, Calif. claims the firm "is involved in installing spyware on mobile phones and using that hidden software to siphon off private consumer data without consumer consent." The suit claims Carrier IQ is in violation of various federal and state laws, including the California Anti-Spyware Statute and the right to privacy provision of the California Constitution.
A separate suit filed in the same court targets Carrier IQ and device makers HTC and Samsung Electronics, also alleging violations of the Federal Wiretap Act and California's Unfair Business Practice Act. The suit alleges that Carrier IQ does in fact record keystrokes and the content of messages and could transmit that information to third parties. Lawsuits also were filed in Chicago and St. Louis.
AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile USA all admitted to using Carrier IQ software, stating they integrated the application to improve their network performance. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) said it stopped using Carrier IQ's platform in the latest version of its operating system, iOS 5. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) have all denied implementing Carrier IQ services on their devices.
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