Senator Demands Telcos & HTC Come Clean on Carrier IQ

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) wants handset manufacturers and mobile carriers to explain what user data is being vacuumed to Carrier IQ, whose software is secretly installed on about 150 million mobile phones in the United States.

Franken is demanding that Sprint, HTC and AT&T cough up some answers, though the senator should also consider asking T-Mobile as well, because it uses Carrier IQ.

Carrier IQ, which records info so that carriers can troubleshoot their networks, came under intense scrutiny the past week after a Connecticut-based Android developer posted a YouTube video showing the software has enormous access to usage information.

Last week, Franken demanded that Carrier IQ, of Mountain View, California, explain what data it is siphoning from handsets. On Friday, in an on-site interview, Carrier IQ spilled the beans to Wired, saying it has the capacity to log web usage, and to chronicle where and when and to what numbers calls and text messages were sent and received. The company said it cannot read contents of text messages, although the company days before said it could.

Carrier IQ said it was up to each company or handset manufacturer to decide what data is siphoned.