WASHINGTON – After security researchers discovered software installed on many popular smartphone models that allegedly can record and transmit personal user information, DFL Sen. Al Franken has called on Carrier IQ, the company behind the software, to provide details.
The company says its software, which is reportedly found on many Android, Blackberry and Nokia smartphones, is used by phone carriers to track information about the functioning of their cellphone networks. But earlier this week, Trevor Eckhart, a security researcher, released a video demonstrating that Carrier IQ’s software could send sensitive information such as the contents of emails and text messages to third parties.
“The revelation that the locations and other sensitive data of millions of Americans are being secretly recorded and possibly transmitted is deeply troubling,” said Franken in a written statement. “This news underscores the need for Congress to act swiftly to protect the location information and private, sensitive information of consumers.”
Franken, who chairs a Senate subcommittee that deals with digital privacy issues, sent Carrier IQ CEO Larry Lenhart a letter on Wednesday with a list of detailed questions about the software’s capabilities. Franken requested a response by Dec. 14.
Since arriving in the Senate in 2009, Franken has made digital privacy a pet issue. In September, Franken and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons scored a victory over the in-car system OnStar after reports emerged that OnStar was tracking customers’ vehicle location and considering selling the information to third parties.