Weekly Roundup : Dec 2, 2011 : Carrier IQ Diagnostic Software Drama “Spyware or Service Monitoring Tool?”

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Carrier IQ, and its diagnostic software that is embedded in millions of smartphones worldwide, dominated the security news this week with all the drama of a fast-paced television show. The story began when researcher Trevor Eckhart announced he had discovered the software on his phone and that it appeared to be logging keystrokes and other activity. Wired carried a 17-minute video of Eckhart demonstrating what he had found, headlined Researcher’s Video Shows Secret Software on Millions of Phones Logging Everything. The Register headlined its coverage: BUSTED! Secret app on millions of phones logs key taps, while Network World reported that Mobile privacy debate reignites over hidden smartphone app.

Carrier IQ responded that the purpose of its diagnostic software had been misunderstood, leading to a second phase of stories along the lines of the one from Sophos Naked Security headlined Carrier IQ snoops on US cell users – Spyware or service monitoring tool? It wasn’t long before lawyers and lawmakers became involved, with CNET capturing both elements in its headline: Carrier IQ faces lawsuits, lawmaker seeks FTC probe.

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