Mobileburn.com received an official statement from Sprint on Friday that said they were disabling Carrier IQ services from all of their phones.
The statement came on the heels of a report at geek.com that Sprint had demanded all of their manufacturer partners remove the service from their devices and do so quickly. According to geek.com Sprint wanted to know as soon as it was done so they could push an update out to their customers.
More after the break
The world quickly learned about Carrier IQ late last month when Geek.com’s Russell Holly wrote a story about it based on the findings of Android security researcher Trevor Eckhart. In an act of crisis PR all of Carrier IQ’s OEM and carrier customers quickly said that they only used the service for diagnostics. Carrier IQ quickly reiterated those statements saying they were a diagnostic company.
Eckhart debunked that theory by adding a video to his findings showing that Carrier IQ’s software had the ability to see the full text of incoming and outgoing text message. The video also revealed that Carrier IQ could see search strings even when they were supposed to be encrypted as well as usernames and passwords.
What was even more troubling was that Eckhart discovered that Carrier IQ was able to obtain the search and login information even when the phone was using wifi instead of 3g or 4g, obviously in that condition the “carrier” wasn’t involved at all.
Eckhart took it one step further and used a phone that had totally been removed from any carrier and phone plan and the results were the same.
The government quickly took notice and Senator Al Franken demanded information from Carrier IQ and their vendor partners, carriers and OEM’s included. That information started pouring in this week. Franken is expected to hear from T-Mobile and Motorola early next week.
“I appreciate the responses I received, but I’m still very troubled by what’s going on,” Franken said in a statement. “It appears that Carrier IQ has been receiving the contents of a number of text messages-even though they had told the public that they did not. I’m also bothered by the software’s ability to capture the contents of our online searches-even when users wish to encrypt them. So there are still many questions to be answered here and things that need to be fixed.”
Sprint has now decided to get rid of the service all together. In response to an email for comment on the geek.com story, Mobile Burn received the following statement from Sprint:
“We have weighed customer concerns and we have disabled use of the tool so that diagnostic information and data is no longer being collected,”
Sprint isn’t the first company to distance themselves from CarrierIQ. Although it was first thought to be just an Android problem, Apple acknowledged that they too used CarrierIQ even up to the latest version of the iPhone but they would be pushing an update to remove and disable the service from current and future iPhones.