During the Senate inquiry in which Senator Al Franken questioned several OEMs and carriers regarding the Carrier IQ privacy drama, it was revealed in court docs that Sprint was the worst offender with over 26 million phones utilizing the Carrier IQ keylogger and tracking software, although they indicated that only 1.3 Million devices were ever pinged for information at any one time. It was also revealed that AT&T has over 900,000 phones with the software, that Samsung has over 25 million smartphones with the software, and that HTC has 6.3 million phones with the software.
During the proceedings, Sprint acknowledged that it used the software, but made it clear that it only used it in a limited capacity to help with diagnostics and troubleshooting technical issues and to improve network performance, not to track users data or for advertising. They also stated that they never shared the data with any third party company or governmental agency, and that they only store the data for a limited period of time (approximately 6 months) in a raw encrypted format. AT&T made similar statements to the Senator. T-Mobile, in an email to ComputerWorld, also made similar statements. Here is one of Sprint’s statements from the court docs,
Sprint has not used Carrier IQ diagnostics to profile customer behavior, serve targeted advertising, or for any purpose not specifically related to certifying that a device is able to operate on Sprint’s network or otherwise to improve network operations and customer experiences.
Sprint apparently took the issue very seriously and went a step further since then. They made a public statement on Friday that they were no longer going to use the Carrier IQ software. They shared that the Carrier IQ software was disabled on their servers, and that they were in the process of asking all their manufacturing partners to remove the Carrier IQ software from their phones. Here was Sprint’s statement on the issue,
“We have weighed customer concerns and we have disabled use of the tool so that diagnostic information and data is no longer being collected.”
Carrier IQ Response and attachment