Sued! The Repercussions of Using Carrier IQ Software

The Carrier IQ controversy continues to shake the tech industry as consumers take action against companies involved in the issue.

Just hours after Senator Al Franken sent a letter to Carrier IQ containing questions regarding how their software really works, plaintiffs are suing Carrier IQ, HTC and Samsung for allegedly violating a federal wiretapping statute.

Class action lawsuits were filed in Chicago and St. Loius based on the Federal Wiretap Act, a law against intercepting “oral, wire or electronic communications.”  Violators would have to pay $100 per day for every count of violation.  The plaintiffs are seeking hundreds of million of dollars on behalf of all US residents with mobile phones containing the Carrier IQ software.

The following is an excerpt from the class action lawsuit in St. Loius against HTC as posted in PaidContent:

Plaintiff, Erin Janek owns an HTC Android phone using the Sprint (NYSE: S) network. At all relevant times Plaintiff used her phone to electronically send over her cell phone network various types of private data. This data was not readily accessible to the general public. She did not know that Defendants were surreptitiously monitoring and collecting this data, nor did she give them permission to do so.

As of now, only the three were named in the class action lawsuit but there is no certainty that other phone manufacturers like Apple would not be dragged in.  As for the carriers, since Trevor Eckhart’s revelation, some of them cleared their names and denied any involvement with Carrier IQ while some explained how the said software is being used to gather information on how they can improve their service and not to spy on their customers.

If you’re curious as to whether your smartphone has the Carrier IQ software, you can actually check your device.   VooDoo Carrier IQ Detector is an app available in the Android Market developed by François Simond.  All you need is to download the app, no rooting required, then just run the app.  The source code for the app is available on Github.  But if you want to remove the software, VooDoo is not the app for you.  You need to root your device first then download Eckhart’s Logging Test App v7, purchase the Logging TestApp Pro Key – ROOT from the Android Market.  Or you can root your device then flash a custom ROM that doesn’t contain Carrier IQ.