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 CNET.com 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.