Most of us have some pressing questions for Carrier IQ concerning the massive potential privacy violations inherent in their reporting software. But most of us don’t have the authority of Congress riding behind them. Al Franken (D, Minnesota) does, and what’s more he’s the chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and Law. So when he sends a letter to Carrier IQ outlining 11 different questions that need answering by December 14th, you know the situation just got bumped up a few levels.
Controversy has surrounded Carrier IQ over the last couple of weeks, first concerning the software that may record a host of personal information such as web history, app use and keystrokes, then around Carrier IQ’s legal strong-arm tactics against Trevor Eckhart, the security researcher who first exposed it, and finally just which carriers and which phones use the system. As far as the US goes, Verizon has stated that they don’t use Carrier IQ at all, The Now Network and AT&T admit to its use but claims that they do not retain personal information, and T-Mobile has not official y responded. The software is present on some Android phones, all iOS phones before iOS 5, and some BlackBerry phones.
Senator Franken’s questions are pretty direct: Does Carrier IQ log users’ locations? Calls? Emails? Web history? He’s particularly interested in where and to whom the data goes after it leaves users’ phones, and what Carrier IQ or its customers do with it after they receive it. He also wants to know if the company will allow users to disable its services (nope), and asks if it complies with the Electronics Communications Privacy Act, the Stored Communications Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. You can check out his complete message here (PDF link). If you’d like a more active role in this mess, be sure to contact your senators and representative and ask them to support Senator Franken, or send their own letters to Carrier IQ.