Only U.S. customers targeted with Carrier IQ?

Carriers are yet to be affected greatly by the revelations made by researcher Trevor Eckhart.

Even though most mobile phone manufacturers have denied installing the Carrier IQ software before delivering the devices, HTC and Samsung – along with the Carrier IQ company – have been hit with lawsuits filed by private citizens who are worried that the companies have been monitoring their private communications and have, thusly, violated the Federal Wiretap Act.

In the meantime, following in the steps of U.S. Senator Al Franken who sent a letter to Carrier IQ pointing out that the company software may be violating the U.S. Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a number of European regulators have moved to investigate the matter.

The Bavarian State Office for Data Protection has contacted Apple by letter, asking for more details about its use of the software in question, and the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office is in the process of contacting national carriers and asking them to share details about their use of that or similar software.

But, so far, it seems that most European mobile operators haven’t been using Carrier IQ. According to Computerworld, Vodafone and Orange have denied using the software, and Samsung confirmed that their mobile phones destined for the European market have not been preinstalled with it.

The claims seem to be confirmed by an analysis performed by a group of researchers from the University of Cambridge, who developed an Android app that detects the Carrier IQ software and asked people around the world to download it, search for it and report back with the results.

“We performed an analysis on our dataset of 5572 Android smartphones that volunteers from all over the world helped us create. From those 5572 devices, only 21 were found to be running the software, all of them in the US and Puerto Rico. The affected carriers we observed were AT&T, Boost Mobile and Sprint,” they shared. “We found no evidence of the Carrier IQ software running on Android devices in any other country. However, given the relatively small sample of 5572 devices, we can not exclude this possibility for now.”

And as a number of other researchers question the conclusiveness of Eckhart’s results and the actual danger posed by the existence of the Carrier IQ app, they do seem to agree that the fact that it was installed without the users’ permission and that opting out isn’t an option is definitely a misstep.

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