Carrier IQ defends handset software

Embedded analytics software house Carrier IQ denies claims by a US senator that its handset products gather more data than a diagnostic tool should. 

The US firm admits its software is capable of accessing on-device functions including SMS, e-mail and power consumption, but claims none of the information is stored or transmitted to third parties. It is responding to a demand by senator Al Franken for the firm to reveal how deeply its software tracks smartphone user’s habits within the next fortnight.
 
“Our software does not record, store or transmit the contents of SMS messages, email, photographs, audio or video. For example, we understand whether an SMS was sent accurately, but do not record or transmit the content of the SMS. We know which applications are draining your battery, but do not capture the screen,” a company statement reveals.
 
Franken acted after security researcher Trevor Eckhart claimed Carrier IQ’s software appears to act as a root kit that can log keystrokes - even from encrypted pages -, and the content of text messages.
 
However, Carrier IQ rolled out its own security expert – Infidel’s Rebecca Bace – to counter the claim. “[I]t is my opinion that allegations of keystroke collection or other surveillance of mobile device user’s content are erroneous,” she states.
 
Carrier IQ’s software was used by seven of the top ten handset OEMs in 2008, Geek.com reports, while the company’s website boasts the software is deployed in 141.3 million handsets and counting.
 
While Eckhart's research initially focused on Android handsets, the software has also been found in iOS, BlackBerry and other devices.
 
Apple claims the software has been phased out in devices running its latest operating system, while Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant told Telecoms Europe.net “Carrier IQ does not ship products for any Nokia devices.”

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