updated 12:45 pm EST, Mon December 5, 2011
Companies tracked 'without consent,' suit charges
Three lawfirms have jointly filed a class action lawsuit over Carrier IQ, according to an announcement. The suit is the broadest yet to involve the recently-exposed cellphone tracking software. Whereas a previous case was filed against just HTC, Samsung, and Carrier IQ itself, the new one also brings in Apple and Motorola, plus US cellular carriers AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Carrier IQ is excluded.
All seven named companies are accused of violating the Federal Wiretap Act, the Stored Electronic Communications Act, and the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. "The carriers and manufacturers last month were caught willfully violating customers' privacy rights in direct violation of federal law," part of a press release reads. "A technology blogger in Connecticut discovered last month that software designed and sold by California-based Carrier IQ, Inc. was secretly tracking personal and sensitive information of the cell phone users without the consent or knowledge of the users. On Nov. 30, 2011, the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary said in a letter to Carrier IQ that 'these actions may violate federal privacy laws.' It added, 'this is potentially a very serious matter.'"
The specific firms involved are Sianni & Straite, of Wilmington, Delaware, and two outfits from New Jersey, Keefe Bartels and Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy. The complaint is being handled through a federal court in Wilmington.
Some of the parties involved in the Carrier IQ scandal have tried to deflect blame. Both Carrier IQ and Android platform creator Google have tried to shift attention to phone makers and carriers. One carrier, T-Mobile, may allegedly be installing Carrier IQ on devices without phone makers' participation.