Phone 'Rootkit' Maker Carrier IQ May Have Violated Wiretap Law In Millions Of Cases
Originally published: December 1, 2011
Last updated: December 21, 2011 - 8:37pm
A piece of keystroke-sniffing software called Carrier IQ has been embedded so deeply in millions of Nokia, Android, and RIM devices that it’s tough to spot and nearly impossible to remove, as 25-year old Connecticut systems administrator Trevor Eckhart revealed in a video. That’s not just creepy, says Paul Ohm, a former Justice Department prosecutor and law professor at the University of Colorado Law School. He thinks it’s also likely grounds for a class action lawsuit based on a federal wiretapping law.
“If CarrierIQ has gotten the handset manufactures to install secret software that records keystrokes intended for text messaging and the Internet and are sending some of that information back somewhere, this is very likely a federal wiretap.” he says. “And that gives the people wiretapped the right to sue and provides for significant monetary damages.” Specifically, Ohm points to changes made to the Wiretap Act under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 that forbid acquiring the contents of communications without the users’ consent. “Because this happens with text messages as they’re being sent, a quintessentially streaming form of communication, it seems like exactly the kind of thing the wiretap act is meant to prevent,” he says. ”When I was at the Justice Department, we definitely prosecuted people for installing software with these kinds of capabilities on personal computers.”
- Carrier IQ: Not so invasive after all
- Carrier IQ: Bug made some keypresses, message data accessible
- Infographic: Inside Carrier IQ’s smartphone agent
- Is your phone telling the carrier everything you do?
- Carrier IQ, Samsung, HTC named in class action suit
- Carrier IQ aside, the public may want their phones tracked
- Carrier IQ Loses Preliminary Round In Privacy Lawsuit
- FBI turns down request for info on Carrier IQ
- Microsoft Is Said to Pay Nokia More Than $1 Billion in Deal
- Rep. Markey calls for investigation of cellphone tracking software
- The Possible Privacy Violations of Verizon's Cell Phone Tracking Program
- Sprint, HTC Hatch Plan To Remove Carrier IQ Software From Handsets
- Who’s using Carrier IQ and for what purpose?
- Apple and Samsung smartphones outsell Nokia’s for first time in second quarter
- Carrier IQ Speaks: Our Software Ignores Your Personal Info