AT&T, Sprint, Samsung, HTC respond to Senator's Carrier IQ requestBy Lee Kaelin 7 comments
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 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'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 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 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.