Sprint disables Carrier IQ software over privacy concerns

The carrier has “weighed customer concerns and…disabled use of the tool so that diagnostic information and data is no longer being collected”, a company spokesman told the Mobileburn website.

Sprint stressed that the software’s sole purpose was to report network problems and allow the company to improve its service for customers.

The controversy over Carrier IQ was sparked by Android developer Trevor Eckhart, who posted a video showing how the software logs text messages, web searches, and other activities without the mobile user’s knowledge or permission.

The video shows the software logging Eckhart’s online search of “hello world”, even though he uses the SSL version of the Google search engine, which is supposed to encrypt searches.

Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) then weighed in, sending a letter to Carrier IQ asking the company to explain allegations that its software logs keystrokes on the devices without user permission. He also sent letters to carriers who used the software.

Carrier IQ, along with a number of the carriers, responded to the senator’s queries. In its letter, Carrier IQ said that it “has worked hard to design software that filters only the absolute essential information on the performance of a device and the network. This filtering of information takes place on the device and is limited to the collection of diagnostic data, rather than content.”

Franken was not impressed by the responses. “I’m still very troubled by what’s going on”, he said. He added that the responses were not good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people didn’t like them (just kidding about the last sentence).

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