Class-action Carrier IQ suit targets Apple, HTC, Samsung, carriers & more

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple is one of a laundry list of companies that have been targeted in a new class-action lawsuit over the Carrier IQ software data logging controversy.



Joining Apple among the list of defendants in the new lawsuit filed by Delaware-based Sianni & Straite LLP are fellow device makers HTC, Samsung and Motorola. In addition, U.S. carriers AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have been targeted for selling phones that include Carrier IQ software.



The class-action suit was filed in federal court in Wilmington, Del., accusing the companies of an "unprecedented breach in the digital privacy rights of 150 million cell phone users." The three carriers and four smartphone manufacturers targeted are charged with violating the Federal Wiretap Act, the Stored Electronic Communications Act, and the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.



"Defendants Samsung, Apple, Motorola, and HTC pre-install Carrier IQ software on cell phones used by its customers on the AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint networks," the complaint reads.



Carrier IQ and its software gained attention last week when Trevor Eckhart, a security researcher, found that it runs in the background on a stock HTC handset, even if the phone is in airplane mode and operating over Wi-Fi. The Carrier IQ software was tracked logging every action on the device, including keys pressed and numbers dialed.



Apple issued a statement to say that Carrier IQ has not been a part of "most of its products" since the release of iOS 5 in October. Inactive remnants of the Carrier IQ software do remain in iOS 5, but Apple has said they will be removed entirely in a future software update.







In addition to the new class-action lawsuit, Apple is also under scrutiny from German regulators, who made a formal request last week to Apple for more information. But while Apple has apparently moved away from Carrier IQ with the release of iOS 5, a number of handset currently available running the Google Android operating system have been found to run the data logging software.



Google has distanced itself from the controversy and stated that it does not include Carrier IQ software in its own devices that run the stock version of Android, including Nexus phones and the Xoom tablet. However, because Android is open source, carriers can require that hardware makers, like HTC and Samsung, include Carrier IQ on the devices they ship.



Carrier IQ has said that it's the carriers who decide what data is being collected and how long it is stored. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have said they rely on Carrier IQ's data to improve wireless network performance, while Verizon -- which was not named in the class-action suit -- has denied that it uses Carrier IQ in any of its handsets.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 63
    That didn't take long.
  • Reply 2 of 63
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,322member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    That didn't take long.



    Of course not. The economy's been tough even for lawyers and they're the ones that benefit the most financially in a class action suit. A consumer is lucky to get $5.00 towards a cell-bill, or perhaps a certificate for some accessory. A great scam if you can pull it off.
  • Reply 3 of 63
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,559member
    lawyer scum. Blast as many companies as possible with a lawsuit and see what falls out. iOS has limited logging and is OFF by default.
  • Reply 4 of 63
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,313member
    let see people are upset they get an almost free phone in exchange they gave up their rights to privacy, how is this any different than everyone with a free email account on Google or having a Facebook account and all your personal information about what you do each day can be data mined and sold.



    The solution to this problem is do not take free things, remember nothing is free there is always a cost and something that cost if more than the $ leaving your bank account.
  • Reply 5 of 63
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    1) Once Apple is included a lawsuit is inevitable.



    2) What I don't understand is why the focus is on Carrier IQ. It's just one company of many that offer analytic software and APIs. We should be focusing on how all OSes, apps, vendors, and carriers monitor our usage, making legal agreements transparent as to what is being recorded, and clear instruction as to how you can opt-out.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Of course not. The economy's been tough even for lawyers and they're the ones that benefit the most financially in a class action suit. A consumer is lucky to get $5.00 towards a cell-bill, or perhaps a certificate for some accessory. A great scam if you can pull it off.



    Thos settlement with result in a $20 million for the lawyers and a 10% off coupon at Dairy Queen for the plaintiffs
  • Reply 6 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post


    let see people are upset they get an almost free phone in exchange they gave up their rights to privacy, how is this any different than everyone with a free email account on Google or having a Facebook account and all your personal information about what you do each day can be data mined and sold.



    The solution to this problem is do not take free things, remember nothing is free there is always a cost and something that cost if more than the $ leaving your bank account.





    The cost of the phone is built into the wireless contract. Your idea of "free" is actually getting a product up front that you pay for over the subsequent two years, under contract.



    Argument=fail.
  • Reply 7 of 63
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post


    let see people are upset they get an almost free phone in exchange they gave up their rights to privacy, how is this any different than everyone with a free email account on Google or having a Facebook account and all your personal information about what you do each day can be data mined and sold.



    The solution to this problem is do not take free things, remember nothing is free there is always a cost and something that cost if more than the $ leaving your bank account.



    Analytica are used regardless.



    Even with free Gmail, iCloud, Facebook etc. what is being monitored should be clearly stated in the legal agreement you agreed to.



    Edit: ? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ23kosLFec
  • Reply 8 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    That didn't take long.



    First rule of vampire survival: don't be the last bloodsucker to bite the neck of a host.
  • Reply 9 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Analytical are used regardless.



    Even with free Gmail, iCloud, Facebook etc. what is being monitored should be clearly stated in the legal agreement you agreed to.



    Honestly, who reads the 15 page end-user license agreement anyway? Lost cause, probably. If you're using a device that's any more advanced than a ti83+ there is a possibility that you're being watched.
  • Reply 10 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    1) Once Apple is included a lawsuit is inevitable.



    2) What I don't understand is why the focus is on Carrier IQ. It's just company of many that offer analytic software and APIs. We should all be focusing on how all OSes, apps, vendors, and carriers monitor our usage, bringing transparent legal agreement as to what is being recorded and clear instruction as to how you can opt out of.







    Thos settlement with result in a $20 million for the lawyers and a 10% off coupon at Dairy Queen for the plaintiffs



    1) Apple will probably get off scott free if the iOS EULA has language that says Apple can gather non-personally identifiable information about the use of your device for the purposes of improving performance yada yada legalese. Hell, we probably all consented by downloading iOS at some point.



    2) if settlement is what they are after, then I argue it was never about your privacy rights, but about legal gamesmanship in order to go after companies with deep pockets to get a payday.
  • Reply 11 of 63
    I wonder if this fiasco allows me to break my phone contract without paying the termination fee? Since they weren't up front about what CIQ can do and it most likely is breaking some US privacy law. Doesn't fraud invalidate the user phone contract? I bet that's why they kept it such a secret and now they are trying their hardest to distance themselves from CIQ and maybe other such software we don't know about yet. :cough:: Verizon? ::cough:
  • Reply 12 of 63
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Of course not. The economy's been tough even for lawyers and they're the ones that benefit the most financially in a class action suit. A consumer is lucky to get $5.00 towards a cell-bill, or perhaps a certificate for some accessory. A great scam if you can pull it off.



    Without commenting on the merits of this suit, class action suits serve a few useful purposes.



    First, acting alone, an individual would not be able to afford to sue, or retain legal counsel to sue, in cases where actual damages are not likely to be large. Against a large corporation's legal team, an individual would stand little chance of winning any settlement at all. (Which is exactly why large corporations try to kill class action suits.) By allowing plaintiffs to combine as a class, our legal system attempts to ensure fairness in the process -- i.e., justice -- by making it possible for the individuals making up the class to be fairly represented by counsel.



    Secondly, lawyers take these cases knowing that if they lose, they will receive nothing at all. Thus they assume substantial financial risk in bringing them. Yes, a large class action suit can be very profitable for the lawyers... if they win. If they lose, it can be very costly. That's the way our legal system is set up, so that in these types of cases, lawyers are forced to act as entrepreneurs, and that's the only option the plaintiffs have for receiving any justice at all.



    Lastly, the purpose of these lawsuits is not simply to provide compensation to plaintiffs for actual damages. They also serve as a deterrent to those who may be contemplating conduct that adversely, and contrary to law, affects large numbers of people, perhaps in only minor ways. By allowing plaintiffs to combine as a class, damage awards as a whole, will more likely be large enough to have a deterrent effect.



    This whole mindless calling for tort reform and disparaging lawyers kind of mentality, plays right in to the interests of those who wish to operate outside and above the law. Capping damage awards, limiting the ability of plaintiffs to combine as a class, etc., all ultimately harm individuals by eliminating any fear of consequences for bad actions.
  • Reply 13 of 63
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,559member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Secondly, lawyers take these cases knowing that if they lose, they will receive nothing at all. Thus they assume substantial financial risk in bringing them. Yes, a large class action suit can be very profitable for the lawyers... if they win. If they lose, it can be very costly. That's the way our legal system is set up, so that in these types of cases, lawyers are forced to act as entrepreneurs, and that's the only option the plaintiffs have for receiving any justice at all.



    Actually, the lawyers get their names in the "lights" and the law firm gets publicity.
  • Reply 14 of 63
    dbtincdbtinc Posts: 134member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post


    let see people are upset they get an almost free phone in exchange they gave up their rights to privacy, how is this any different than everyone with a free email account on Google or having a Facebook account and all your personal information about what you do each day can be data mined and sold.



    The solution to this problem is do not take free things, remember nothing is free there is always a cost and something that cost if more than the $ leaving your bank account.



    Free phone my a$z - I'd paid $299 for my Evo 4G and am bound to sprint for two years. I don't need people playing peek-a-boo with my own property. Good for the lawyers!
  • Reply 15 of 63
    Good! I'm glad!



    I did not appreciate every freaking key-stroke, geo-data, HTTPS data, and whatnot being sent to a shady third-party company. The opt-in wasn't intended for this kinda crap.
  • Reply 16 of 63
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post


    Actually, the lawyers get their names in the "lights" and the law firm gets publicity.



    Which it may be some small consolation for their financial loses if they lose the case that they get to enjoy their 15 minutes of fame.
  • Reply 17 of 63
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,481member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Those settlement with result in a $20 million for the lawyers and a 10% off coupon at Dairy Queen for the plaintiffs



    Cheap Blizzards for all!!
  • Reply 18 of 63
    What is the basis for the lawsuit? You have to prove harm done. These class-action lawsuits are pure trolling by lawyers.
  • Reply 19 of 63
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,481member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post


    Good! I'm glad!



    I did not appreciate every freaking key-stroke, geo-data, HTTPS data, and whatnot being sent to a shady third-party company. The opt-in wasn't intended for this kinda crap.



    I read that the data was stored in a log file but not actually transmitted from the phone.
  • Reply 20 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    What is the basis for the lawsuit? You have to prove harm done. These class-action lawsuits are pure trolling by lawyers.



    Looks to me like every one grabbed their internet pitchforks and got stuck in. In reality the truth is probably far more banal:



    http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57...of-keylogging/



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TFA


    "The application does not record and transmit keystroke data back to carriers," Rosenberg told CNET. His reverse-engineering showed that "there is no code in Carrier IQ that actually records keystrokes for data collection purposes."



    Quote:

    Carrier IQ has given Rebecca Bace, a well-known security expert who's advised startups including Tripwire and Qualys, access to the company's engineers and internal documents. (Bace says she has no financial relationship with Carrier IQ.)

    Bace told CNET that: "I'm comfortable that the designers and implementers expended a great deal of discipline in focusing on the espoused goals of the software--to serve as a diagnostic aid for assuring quality of service and experience for mobile carriers."



    Quote:

    Coward acknowledged that the company's software, which is designed to be installed by carriers, can report back what applications are being used and what URLs are visited. Carrier IQ doesn't make these decisions; rather, they sell configurable software and the carriers decide what options to enable.



    but



    Quote:

    It's true that carriers already know what URLs you're visiting when you use their network--meaning that, in many cases, Carrier IQ can be configured to send them data they already have.



    There are privacy concerns but nothing like the extent of what is being thrown about the internet.
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