AT&T, Sprint, Samsung, HTC respond to Senator's Carrier IQ request

By Lee Kaelin on December 20, 2011, 9:30 AM

Several handset manufacturers and wireless carriers have responded to a request from Senator Al Franken for more information regarding the use of Carrier IQ's software. Turns out, the software is installed on an estimated 30 million handsets of American consumers. In a bid to make it clearer, every phone used by those that responded has now been revealed. According to the Verge, Sprint is said to be by far the biggest user of Carrier IQ's software. 

AT&T

AT&T responded to the Senator's request by saying it has 900,000 handsets with Carrier IQ installed, with around 575,000 of those actively sending data that's supposedly strictly limited to the collection of diagnostic information about their network.

Motorola's Atrix 2 and Bravo have it installed, as do Pantech's Pursuit II, Breeze 3, P5000 (Link2) and Pocket handsets. Sierra Wireless' Shockwave, LG's Thrill, ZTE's Avail and Z331 also feature it. Finally, the carrier is using the software with Sony's Xperia Play. They also listed three models that have it installed but is non-functional as the software could petentially interfere with handset performance. The three are HTC's Vivid, LG's Nitro and Samsung's Skyrocket.

The US' second largest wireless carrier also admitted Carrier IQ's software is packaged in AT&T's Mark the Spot application, which is available from Android's Marketplace as well as RIM's BlackBerry App World.

Sprint

Sprint's response included an admission that it had 26 million active devices with Carrier IQ installed. That equates to nearly half of their subscribers so it is certainly safe to assume all Android handsets have it installed and actively monitoring. For clarity, the network declined to list every model listed, but did name the manufacturers of devices that have Carrier IQ running in the background.

It's worth noting that since the admission, Sprint has begun disabling the Carrier IQ software on all of its phones and is no longer collecting data from it.

The list included handsets from Audiovox, Franklin, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Novatel, Palmone, Samsung, Sanyo and Sierra Wireless. Samsung specified all the handsets (below) it installs the Carrier IQ software on at the factory at the request of the provider.

Samsung

Samsung also responded to the Senator's request for more information, but made it clear the software was installed at the wireless providers requests. In total, 25 million devices are affected, and the list includes 28 phones sold to Sprint, two phones on T-Mobile, four on Cricket and one on AT&T's networks.

The long list includes popular models such as the Galaxy S2, its other recent 4G phones and its 3G models of the Galaxy Tab tablet range. AT&T's Galaxy S2 Skyrocket is confirmed to have the software installed, as is Cricket's Hue, Messenger Touch, Chrono and Freeform III handsets. T-Mobile's Hercules and Galaxy W also appear.

Affected devices on Sprint's network included the Instinct, Instinct S30, Instinct HD, Rant, Highnote, Exclaim, Reclaim, Intrepid, Moment, Seek, Restore, Epic 4G, Epic 4G Touch, Intercept, Transform, Factor, Trender, Galaxy Prevail, Conquer 4G, and Transform Ultra models. Also listed were the model designations SPH-M220, SPH-M240, SPH-M320, SPH-M330, SPH-M3460, SPH-P100 and finally the SPH-Z400.

HTC

HTC responded by saying an estimated 6.3 million of its Android smartphones featured the Carrier IQ software. AT&T's Vivid was named, as well as T-Mobile's Amaze 4G. The devices sold by Sprint were the Snap, Touch Pro 2, Hero, EVO 4G, EVO Shift 4G, and EVO Design models. The Taiwanese manufacturer also listed several models with the software installed, but not running. These are the Merge, Acquire, Desire, Wildfire, Flyer and a variant of the Hero.

In response to carriers and manufacturers' clarifications Senator Al Franken commented, "the average user of any device equipped with Carrier IQ software has no way of knowing that this software is running, what information it is getting, and who it is giving it to-and that's a problem."

No doubt the saga is going to continue for a few months as more questions are raised regarding Carrier IQ's software. Clearly, at the very least they need to include opt in or opt out options for consumers, and soon.




User Comments: 7

Got something to say? Post a comment
lchu12 lchu12 said:

To fall off the grid....I guess the first thing is to ditch your smartphone.

Guest said:

What big deal after all .. I guess this is only one tiny thing we (now) know about it. How many waits to be discovered?

treetops treetops said:

Whats really annoying is that now some of them know we know they are taking it off their phones. Oh we got caught woops. However they face no penalties, I guess our privacy isn't protected by any laws.

Guest said:

I think the only reason Sprint is disabling, it is for PR. they are trying to get folks to come over from AT&T. NOTE: They said disable, not remove. They can turn it back on at any time.

Also the software is simply diagnostics. I know lots of screaming and yelling and freaking out of a video, which if you are technically inclined if fake for all intense and purposes. The "security researcher" if you want to call him that works for a company called Telogis. I hear they are trying to get up to the race with Carrier IQ. What better way than to get the leader shut down and you quietly slip into the vacuum that is left behind. If you don't believe me check out the bloggers linked in profile.

I think he was asked to do this as corporate espionage, and then they will control it all. Al bet a little differently.

Guest said:

Regardless of the nature, it is gathering information. If you liken that to a survey or anything similar, permission is still needed. You have to be willing to give your information. The problem with today's companies is the under-handed actions used against their own customers to give them the advantage against their competitors. If they would have "asked" the customer to be a participant, I'm sure there would be less of a stink. However, that is not the case, and many other companies, like Carrier IQ are creating and using more and more controverisal marketing tactics that invade their customers privacy under their nose and without their expressed permission. That's what the problem is. It's the PRINCIPLE of the program and not the program itself. Just like if someone took 25 cents from you. It's a neglible amount, but you would still be upset because they took from your without your permission. I'm sure if they asked you would have gave them a dollar. Or in this case permission to use your information to better their software algorithims. However, they didn't ask, and they are not the only ones employing controversial marketing techniques that dive deeper and deeper into your personal lives and extract personal information, ie. Credit Card numbers, personal passwords, etc that could be harmful if any member on the receiving end decided to use it as blackmail, especially against corporate entities that may have the software running on their corporate phones. No one was even given the option to opt-out or opt-in.

Guest said:

The problem with corporate entities is that they're headed by filth-rich retards. If any of them had half of a clue of today's technological world, they would have seen the security threats it poses on their companies, especially health care entities that transfer federally-protected health-care information via. Smart-Devices created and serviced by these companies. Even that information can be picked up by Carrier IQ. If they had half a clue, they would have tried to cover their own butts and brought suit against all of these telecommunication companies for putting their patient's information and their businesses at risk.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.