A big stink was worked up in 2011 when it was revealed that software called “Carrier IQ” was running on many of the smartphones from major manufacturers and carriers. One sleuthing digital detective found that the software — which is installed at the system level and completely hidden from public view — was logging keystrokes and had the capability to read messages being sent over the network.
Obviously it worried the sweat out of many, and a brave group of consumes sought it necessary to right the wrongs with a good ol’ class action lawsuit. That lawsuit has now been settled according to new reports. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed, but it ends a three-year fight between consumers and the software firm to ensure our civil liberties aren’t being violated.
This ordeal obviously sparked up a huge controversy and set off a manhunt to find out which phones and carriers used it. The findings? Nearly every major phone and carrier had utilized the software. Sprint went as far as ordering manufacturers to remove it from all their phones in software upgrades, while outside parties like Lookout did their part to create apps to find out whether your device was plagued with Carrier IQ.
Carrier IQ says its only intentions were to help carriers diagnose their network with information that could only be provided by this solution. Of course, many called bologna on the issue and decided to drag them to court in a class action lawsuit.
Lawsuits against the 6 manufacturers (which included big names such as HTC, LG and Samsung) were consolidated into one trial, though that group has yet to announce plans to settle. That could change in the near future as further talks between the consumers and the manufacturers are expected to take place next week. HTC has already had to face judgment from the FTC as the regulatory body ordered 20 years of security audits because they implemented Carrier IQ in such a way that third-party apps could read the data that was being logged.
The whole thing was a mess, and at the time it was a very scary thought for carriers and OEMs to be logging information like that (even if they say it was for nothing more than the good of their network). Let’s hope all of it will be squashed by the time the calendar turns.