Friday, December 02, 2011

Carrier IQ, Samsung, HTC slapped with lawsuits based on Wiretap Act

Everyone into the lawsuit pool: Carrier IQ has been hit with class-action lawsuits over the Carrier IQ logging software. It was predicted that lawsuits would be coming, and they're already here.

The class action lawsuits were filed in Chicago, Ill. and St. Louis, Mo. The lawsuits seek hundreds of million of dollars based on the Federal Wiretap Act. That law bans the interception of "oral, wire or electronic communications."

The lawsuits allege that Carrier IQ “intercepted, recorded and collected information concerning the substance, purport, or meaning of the electronic communications transmitted without the authorization of the parties to those communications.”

The class-action suits are being brought on behalf of U.S. residents who had mobile phones containing the software. That could be a considerable number; Carrier IQ says that 142M phones have the software installed, globally.

Don't worry, handset manufacturers HTC and Samsung haven't been left out. They've been sued as well. Interestingly, all these parties claim they have been asked to provide Carrier IQ on handsets so that the carriers can get information to help them improve the performance of their networks, but no carriers have been sued --- yet.

AT&T and Sprint say they install the software on their phones. Verizon says it does not. T-Mobile was late to respond, but said late Thursday that it installs Carrier IQ as well.

There are statements left and right about what does and does not get logged and / or transmitted. We think the companies are missing the point. It's not WHAT is being logged or transmitted. It's that anything is being logged, period.

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