AfterDawn: Glossary

Carrier IQ

Carrier IQ is a developer of software for mobile smartphones.

Its software specializes in gathering usage information for wireless carriers. The company says that the software's main priority is to gather information about dropped calls and battery draining problems so that wireless carriers can get information on problems before they can get worse.

In November 2011, security researcher Trevor Eckhart published an analysis of the company's software, and also posted training materials provided by the company for his audience to download.

His research allegedly showed that Carrier IQ's software logs a great deal of information about users' activities without their knowledge. The research led to a great deal of media publicity for Carrier IQ, which continued to defend its practices.

Among the accusations levelled against it were that its software was capable of retrieving information such as keystrokes if it were activated to do so.

Lawmakers in the United States took a keen interest in the case, with U.S. Senator Al Franken sending a letter to the company, seeking more information on its software. Then, Edward Markey, U.S. Representative for Massachusetts's 7th congressional district, called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate whether Carrier IQ had violated privacy rights of millions of Americans.

A class action lawsuit was also filed against Carrier IQ for allegedly violating federal wiretapping laws.


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