The saga of Carrier IQ and its tracking software installed on untold numbers of mobile phones on carriers in the US continues. Senator Al Franken started his investigation into carriers by sending out letters demanding to know what major wireless carriers were using the software for, how many handsets had the software, and what was done with the data. Some responses have returned and the number of handsets running the software is scary.
The response Franken received back from some of the larger carriers were disturbing to those concerned about privacy. In the response to Franken’s inquiry AT&T admitted that it had Carrier IQ installed on 900,000 handsets that were in consumer hands. However, AT&T claims that it only collects data from about 575,000 of those handsets.
Sprint, on the other hand, has 26 million handsets on the market running Carrier IQ software. The carrier maintains that while it has been using Carrier IQ since 2006 it only collects details on network and device performance. Sprint claims that it has never used data collected to serve targeted ads or for any other purpose than device and network performance. Sprint also claims that only about 5% of those 26 million devices are collecting data at any given time. About 30,000 are queried by Sprint personnel at any given time.