Sean Hollister Interviews Carrier IQ's Andrew Coward

Sean Hollister, of The Verge, has a lengthy interview with Carrier IQ's Vice President of Marketing, Andrew Coward.

Sean offers the following summary for those not interested for the transcript in its entirety:

You can read the entire transcript for yourself below, but in our opinion, the biggest takeaways are that Carrier IQ and its client operators have logical reasons for taking most of the information they do — and mind you, many forms of personal data, like the contents of SMS and emails, aren’t being tracked at all, and no data is tracked in real time — but by the same token, it feels like there may be a lack of oversight when it comes to mobile privacy.

Although this seems to put a number of issues to bed, I do not see the Carrier IQ scandal coming to a halt any time soon. With news of incoming class action complaints against large mobile phone manufacturers just beginning to creep in, I'd say the true extent of the situation has yet to be revealed.

Apple Clarifies "Most Products" With Regard to Carrier IQ

In a statement to Ars Technica, Apple has clarified that only one device running iOS5 still has Carrier IQ, the iPhone 4.

Jon Brodkin:

But we were a bit curious about what "most of our products" means in that context. In response to our question, Apple tells us there is only one device running iOS 5 that still runs Carrier IQ, and it's the iPhone 4. Other devices running iOS 5, such as the iPad, the new iPhone 4S, and older iPhone models updated to iOS 5 have had Carrier IQ stripped out. But Apple says it has never used Carrier IQ to record keystrokes or personal messages.

Considering this is likely Apple's most popular handset, this is somewhat concerning. Particularly following the lack of acknowledgement in their first statement to the media.

Carrier IQ Scandal Draws the Curtain Back For Carriers

"Decrease your guesswork" (via CarrierIQ.com)

Over the past month, I've written multiple articles discussing the problems facing the wireless carrier industry. Confronted with increasingly complex, carrier-overriding technology from handset manufacturers, and with an ever-increasing amount of customer dissatisfaction, I've argued that giants like AT&T and Verizon are on a precarious path.

Until recently, carrier control has been borderline monopolistic. They have been able to progressively hike prices, and withhold consumer-benefiting technologies without much consumer or manufacturer recourse. But this is slowly beginning to change. As manufacturers grow in influence, the carriers do not have the latitude they once had to exert complete control.

In this situation, the Carrier IQ scandal may prove to be the straw the breaks the camel's back.

As evidence mounts, Carrier IQ appears to be software implemented for the carrier -- not the manufacturer. While it is unclear what, exactly, is transmitted from affected phones, the scale and breadth of the data collection is alarming.

The news of Carrier IQ's privacy threatening software has not quite hit mainstream channels yet, but it is only a matter of time before people become aware. When it does, this scandal has the capacity for full-blown disaster for carriers. Consumer tension with carriers is, and always has been, palpable, and the revelation of extensive privacy invasion? Well, it could mark the beginning of significant changes in the wireless industry.

As I've said, manufacturers are working toward carrier disruption, but what I had not considered was the consumer. I had written off the average user as being unable of provoking significant change in the industry. But with the Carrier IQ scandal, if it spreads, user outrage could be a catalyst for significant overhaul and change.

Tracking some user information? Understandable. Keylogging, and capturing SMS and email? Much different.

Whether the entirety of this information is sent or not is unclear, but the mere fact that the potential is there is cause for concern. Unlike some other carrier issues, the secret collection of personal information is something that the average user can easily comprehend, and express outrage over.

Regulatory commissions, users, and manufacturers will suddenly be confronted with the true nature of their wireless carriers, and without significant change, their true nature is unlikely to go unscathed.

Of course, this is sadly contingent on whether the mainstream media picks up on this scandal at all.

Carrier IQ: The Story so Far

Sean Hollister:

Carrier IQ provides telemetry to cellular carriers and manufacturers, and according to the company itself, its software is pre-installed on over 141 million phones. Now, a security researcher claims that the same software is monitoring every single key you press on your smartphone, reading your SMS, and logging much of the personal data you transmit, too — all with an app that you can't remove.

The Verge has in depth, updating coverage of today's unfolding Carrier IQ scandal. While it may not be receiving as much attention as the iOS "LocationGate" issues of 2010, the extent of Carrier IQ's privacy intrusions may well prove to be astounding. Affecting Android, Blackberry, and Nokia phones, amongst others, Carrier IQ's reach is extensive, and truly alarming for the modern consumer.

More to follow.