It hasn't been a good week for Carrier IQ. First a damning video apparently illustrating the extent of what information the program collects surfaces, then everything goes to shit. Now, the company is facing a US Senate investigation for potentially millions of violations of privacy laws in the US alone. And this is the response?
The company released its official statement on the matter late Thursday afternoon. You can find the full text of it here.
There isn't anything particularly surprising in the statement itself. The company flatly denies any unethical and illegal actions without actually providing any explanation of what the software does,
"While a few individuals have identified that there is a great deal of information available to the Carrier IQ software inside the handset, 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."
Essentially CIQ argues that while keystrokes, messages, phone numbers, and websites did pass through the software, they were not recorded. Quite the contrary, in fact. CIQ paints itself as an advocate of the consumer, "explaining what works and what does not work... Our software allows Operators to figure out why problems are occurring, why calls are dropped, and how to extend the life of the battery." I'm not exactly sure how peering into my SMS messages helps extend my battery life, but let's just keep moving.
CIQ also brought in Rebecca Bace a respected security expert from Infidel Inc., for its PR defence. She too asserts that, "having examined the Carrier IQ implementation, it is my opinion that allegations of keystroke collection or other surveillance of mobile device user's content are erroneous." Overall, the company's statement doesn't really add any light or explanation to the controversy, we may just have to wait until Senator Franken gets a hold of them for answers in the US. Who knows what impact this will have on British users. [Business Wire]