& cplSiteName &

AT&T Brings Carrier IQ In-House

Brian Santo
12/29/2015
50%
50%

AT&T has purchased the rights to Carrier IQ's network diagnostics software. Carrier IQ apparently no longer exists as a separate entity; its website has been taken down, and most employees appear to be gone.

AT&T said, "We've acquired the rights to Carrier IQ's software, and some CIQ employees moved to AT&T. We use CIQ software solely to improve the customer's network and wireless service experience. This is in line with our Privacy Policy and provides a great benefit to users of our network." The company had no further comment.

Nielsen was involved in the acquisition, according to one company that did business with Carrier IQ until recently. Carrier IQ and Nielsen have been working together since 2011 to measure the performance of mobile networks, devices and applications. (See Nielsen Teams With Carrier IQ to Measure Mobile.)

Nielsen did not respond to queries from Light Reading by press time, nor did Carrier IQ CEO Larry Lenhart. AT&T declined to comment on any possible involvement of another company.

Carrier IQ's diagnostics software resides on mobile handsets, but handset makers typically install it at the behest of carriers who use the data to improve network performance and customer service.

Several US carriers relied on Carrier IQ's product, but at least one (Sprint) ceased using it several years ago after its capabilities raised concerns over possible invasions of privacy. Those concerns led to a series of class-action lawsuits filed four years ago that only now appear to be nearing a resolution.

AT&T and T-Mobile are believed to be the last two major US carriers still making use of Carrier IQ's software.

In 2011, consumers became aware of Carrier IQ's software and its potential for enabling invasions of privacy through fine-detail techniques such as location tracking and even keystroke logging. (See Carrier IQ: We Don't Record Keystrokes.)

At the time, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile were among those using handsets equipped with Carrier IQ's software. Sprint almost immediately dropped Carrier IQ. Verizon said it never used it.

That same year, several class action lawsuits were filed against Carrier IQ and six handset manufacturers that installed its software: HTC, Samsung, Huawei Devices, LG Electronics, Motorola Mobility and Pantech Wireless. (Apple was a Carrier IQ customer, but in 2011 said it ceased installing the software.)


Want to know more about assuring network performance? Check out our monitoring and assurance channel here on Light Reading.


The plaintiffs alleged violations of Federal wiretapping statutes; those charges were eventually dismissed. The suits also alleged violation of variety of state laws; those are the claims that are still being adjudicated.

Carrier IQ and its codefendants were reported to have arrived at a settlement in June, 2015, but no details emerged. Instead, in early November, the US District Court in San Francisco declared that the terms of the settlements are to be made public in January 2016.

AT&T would not comment, but it is reasonable to assume its acquisition of the rights to Carrier IQ's software may have been a factor in the delay to the settlement.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought a separate action against HTC, charging that the way HTC enabled Carrier IQ's software made it available to third party apps also running on HTC phones. HTC issued a patch and agreed to create a security unit it must maintain for 20 years.

Carrier IQ was founded in 2004. It raised at least $42 million in venture capital, with the most recent round completed in 2010. Investors included Mohr Davidow (CEO Lenhart is a partner), Accel, Benchmark, Bridgescale Partners, CRV (nee Charles River Ventures), Intel Capital, Nauta, Presidio and Sumitomo Corp.

Carrier IQ gave mobile carriers the ability to gauge the performance of their networks and services; for example, finding out why calls may have been dropped. But as noted, it can be used much more invasively.

Exactly what data Carrier IQ's software collected and how it was used was up to the carriers, however, and none of the companies that used it then, or which may still be using it now, have ever revealed how they were using it.

In 2011, privacy expert Trevor Eckhart -- a Sprint customer -- demonstrated that the software on his phone was secretly logging his data, and publicized his discovery. The software was, and is, hard to detect, cannot be turned off, and cannot be easily removed.

Customers, alarmed by the potential privacy violations, protested, and some sued. Lookout and Trend Micro created apps that Android phone owners can use to determine if Carrier IQ is resident on their phones.

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
VernonDozier
50%
50%
VernonDozier,
User Rank: Lightning
1/2/2016 | 10:58:15 AM
T-Mo
It's been some time since the controversy, but I do remember that T-Mobile was a huge offender of this privacy stealing app.

Apparently, people visiting from the UK were buying temporary handsets in the US, and taking them back to Europe going back to 2011. In Europe, these types of tracking tools are highly illegal.  It's interesting that a worldwide brand like T-Mobile would sell it.

As far back as 2011, T-Mobile responded to US Senator's requests for information, stating that the software was installed on more than 450,000 devices. The data was accessable by T-Mobile customer service.

In the letter provided to the Senator, it was also disclosed that data was collected and "used for marketing purposes". However, T-Mobile's engineering staff has access to that data, so it can't be used for network optimization purposes.

It was strange that T-Mobile would collect that data to sell phones, but not use such a valuable tool to make the service better. But this was about that time that T-Mobile's organizational structure was realighned to better suit the primary product of advertising.  T-Mobaile doesn't give two sh*ts about coverage. That approach to wireless service is a hallmark cornerstone of the way T-Mobile is managed today.
From The Founder
Either we perform a complete 'factory reset' on the way the telecom industry creates and deploys virtualization, or we face the consequences.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
The Urgency of Commercial 5G Services

4|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


The progress of 5G has been closely monitored in the industry. At the 2017 Brooklyn 5G Summit, the sense of urgency for a commercial 5G launch had started to surface among operators.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
How Diversity Helps Comcast Mirror Its Customer Base

4|26|17   |   2:55   |   (0) comments


Diversity brings innovation, creative ideas and a way to reflect the broad spectrum of your customer base, Comcast Director of Customer Experience Jenelle Champlin says.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mobile Operators & Video

4|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ovum's Ed Barton discusses the latest mobile operator strategies for mobile video.
LRTV Custom TV
Infinera Introduces Instant Network

4|20|17   |     |   (1) comment


Mike Capuano, vice president of marketing at Infinera, discusses the advancement from Instant Bandwidth to new Instant Network capabilities, which include Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Vodafone's Eubank on Sponsors, Mentors & Moving On Up

4|19|17   |   4:25   |   (0) comments


Vodafone America's Head of Operations Kimberly Eubank breaks down the difference between a sponsor and a mentor and shares why both made a big difference in her career.
LRTV Custom TV
NYC Auto Show: Are We Smart Yet?

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


The auto industry is facing some big transformations as electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connected cars are seen as the future of the industry. During the much-anticipated NY international auto show, there was an emergence of new technology and mobility service on the show floor. Aside from performance, brands like Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes and ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Impact of Video

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Mercer from Strategy Analytics discusses the impact of video on current strategies.
LRTV Custom TV
Pardeep Kohli Discusses Network Transformation & the Market Opportunity for the 'New' Mavenir Systems

4|13|17   |     |   (0) comments


In a brief discussion at MWC 2017, Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore talks to Pardeep Kohli, CEO, Mavenir Systems about the creation of the 'new Mavenir' and some of the key challenges facing operators in today's market. A key theme of the discussion centers around operator need for software-only, virtualized solutions and how they will need to adapt to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Tech Maverick Shares Her Tips for Gender Inclusivity

4|12|17   |   7:28   |   (0) comments


Wendy Hall Bohling, a corporate escapee, author and gender exclusivity consultant, tells her story of sexism, bias and progress along the road to gender equality in the workforce.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at MWC 2017

4|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress 2017, the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year, Huawei showcased its new innovations and solutions with the theme "Open Road," which focuses on cloud, 5G, operation transformation, videos and consumer-oriented products. Its campaign has been recognized by three awards given by GSMA.
LRTV Custom TV
China Telecom NFV Infrastructure on RSD

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Lynn Comp, senior director of market development of Intel, is joined by Chong Zhang, storage engineer at Inspur and Ou Li Yan, architect for technology strategies of China Telecom, for a discussion of what NFV brings.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's IMPACT Software Demo

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Khamis Abulgubein of IoT market development at Nokia demonstrates IMPACT (intelligent management platform for all connected things), a software solution with a horizontal approach to managing any device on any application.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Brazos Hall - Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Surprise! AT&T Markets 4G Advances as '5G Evolution'
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
Did Verizon Outbid AT&T for Straight Path?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
First Year TIPs the Scale Toward Success
Denise Culver, 4/24/2017
Verizon: Small Biz in Cybercrooks' Crosshairs
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/27/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.