Consumer Watchdog Asks Justice Department, FCC to Investigate 'Spyphone Scandal'

Probe of Wiretap Violations Should Include Google, Apple As Well As Software Maker

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer Watchdog today called for a federal investigation into the "Spyphone Scandal", in which software embedded in smartphones surreptitiously tracks users' activities, including their keystrokes and numbers they dialed.

The probe should extend beyond the software developer, Carrier IQ, and include operating systems developers like Google and Apple as well as carriers and device manufacturers, the nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group said.

In letters to the Attorney General Eric Holder and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, John M. Simpson, director of the group's Privacy Project wrote that surreptitiously tracking smartphone users' activities "appears to be a flagrant violation of wiretap laws."

Read Justice letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrholder120211.pdf

Read FCC letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrgenachowski120211.pdf.

"The device many of us carry in our pockets has, simply put, been turned into a virtual spyphone," said Simpson. "Meaningful Do Not Track Legislation that covers mobile devices could help arm consumers with tools necessary to protect their privacy."

The software that turns mobile phones into spyphones was developed by Carrier IQ.  Last month researcher Trevor Eckhart demonstrated that software installed on more than 140 million smartphones is surreptitiously tracking the activities of their users.

Read his report here: http://androidsecuritytest.com/features/logs-and-services/loggers/carrieriq/

View a video demonstration here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T17XQI_AYNo

"Culpability in this massive wiretapping effort extends far beyond the software developer, Carrier IQ," wrote Simpson.  "Clearly mobile phone service providers, manufactures and operating system developers are all potentially implicated. We call on you to launch an immediate criminal investigation into the involvement of software provider Carrier IQ; service providers AT&T, Verizon, Sprint  and T-Mobile; operating system developers Google, Apple and Research In Motion; and device manufacturers including HTC, Samsung, Nokia and Motorola."

"This Spyphone Scandal is an intrusion on people's privacy on a massive scale," the letters to Holder and Genachowski concluded. "Those responsible must be held accountable. We call on you to launch an immediate investigation."

Visit our website at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org   

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog



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