updated 08:05 pm EST, Wed December 14, 2011
Carrier IQ says it asked FTC and FCC first
New government investigations into Carrier IQ are voluntary, the company claimed in a statement Wednesday. It had actively looked for meetings with the FCC and FTC to "educate" the two on how its cellphone diagnostic system works, the firm told AllThingsD. Congressman Ed Markey had asked for an investigation, but there hadn't been an active effort from the FTC that it knew of.
The remarks don't rule out a behind-the-scenes investigation of Carrier IQ, but they do point to at least some active cooperation. Both Markey and Senator Al Franken have stopped short of demanding legal action, but they have hinted that any intentional data logging could violate privacy laws.
For its part, the company has provided in-depth explanations that have also been relatively candid about the process and flaws, such as a bug that may send SMS data, if inaccessible in normal use, along with cellular performance. Concerns have still surfaced that an HTC flaw might be logging information against Carrier IQ's permission. Phone builders like Apple, Nokia, and RIM have triggered other worries by their eagerness to distance themselves from the tools, with even Sprint possibly having it removed from phones.
The data tracking is mostly on Android phones from AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, although some BlackBerry hardware also carries it despite RIM's position. No Verizon phones are known to use it, and Apple has both stopped using it as of iOS 5 and made it strictly opt-in from the start.