Congress Examines Software that Tracks Cell Phone Activities

POSTED: Friday, December 2, 2011 - 10:21am

UPDATED: Friday, December 2, 2011 - 3:19pm

Is your smart phone spying on you?

A computer analyst has found a secret data collection that's been loaded on tens of millions of phones, and it seems to be watching every keystroke and movement you make. Trevor Eckhart, a computer analyst from Connecticut, showed how it works...tracking everything from a user's location to web searches that are supposed to be encrypted.

It can't be disabled. AT&T and Sprint say they're not collecting personal data, just trying to improve the phones and service. The company that created the software, Carrier IQ, promises "unprecedented insight" into customers' mobile experience.

The question is whether it's legal.

"If the text message data or the e-mail data is being intercepted and transmitted, it's a straightforward violation of the Federal Wiretap Act, and it's a serious violation," says the Electronic Privacy Information Center's John Verdi.

Even if it is legal, this revelation doesn't help the phone companies.

"I do not want to hear that my cell phone is capable of tracking all this information and that my carrier did not tell me that they're doing it," says executive editor Molly Wood.

Senator Al Franken of Minnesota has fired off a letter to Carrier IQ demanding to know exactly what the software is collecting and whether federal laws are being violated in doing so.

Comments News Comments

The company says it doesn't ask for certain information but what if i'm typing in my online banking passwords. This is essentially a key logger which is considered malware and illegal.

This is a violation to everyone's privacy and security.

FYI-Your facts are wrong, Sprint released a statement that they do use if but for network support only. Still doesn't mean the software collects other data and stores it.

Also, Treve has developed an android app to help any rooted phone to get rid of it. There are some drawback to removing this software though. It is hard coded in some phone which means if you remove it, it will brick/stop your phone from working properly.

Anyone using IOS has this tracker, and Apple has released a statement that it won't be on IOS 5. A patch or software update for older phones is currently being developed.

Dispite what Verizon says or ATT even TMO...the Carrier IQ logger has been reported to be on Thunderbolts which is Verizon specific. NOkia and RIM phones also have been reported to have this logger.

HTC also released a statement that it is mandated by its customers to put this software on the phones it manufactures.

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