Carrier IQ May Face FTC Investigation

Carrier IQ, makers of the once-covert mobile device monitoring software, continues to receive scrutiny from the U.S government. On Wednesday, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) sent a letter to Larry Lenhart—Carrier IQ’s CEO and President—inquiring about how the software and data collected was being used. Now U.S. Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) has asked the FTC to invesigate whether Carrier IQ has violated the privacy rights of millions of mobile phone users. From Reuters:

“Consumers and families need to understand who is siphoning off and storing their personal information every time they use their smart phone,” Markey said in a statement.


In a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, Markey asked the agency to investigate this under its mandate to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive acts or practices.

I wonder if the FTC will also look into Carrier IQ’s customers, which include AT&T, Sprint, HTC and—at one time—Apple.

Privacy Groups Request FTC Investigate Facebook’s User Tracking Practices

Facebook’s privacy woes are anything but over. On Wednesday, nine privacy groups requested the FTC to investigate Facebook’s user tracking practices. From BGR:

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and seven other privacy groups have contacted the U.S. Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate Facebook for “secretly tracking users after they logged off of Facebook’s webpage.”

Additional information was found via AP.

Facebook Facing Government Scrutiny

It appears Facebook’s privacy concerns aren’t over as two U.S. lawmakers are asking the FTC to investigate them for their tracking practices. Although Facebook has updated their logout logic to remove the tracking cookie, it appears the issue still caught the government’s attention. From the ComputerWorld article:

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) wrote an open letter Wednesday urging FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz to look into Facebook’s tracking of its users even after they log out of the site.


“As Co-Chairs of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, we believe that tracking user behavior without their consent or knowledge raises serious privacy concerns,” wrote Markey and Barton. “When users log out of Facebook, they are under the expectation that Facebook is no longer monitoring their activities. We believe this impression should be the reality.”

Considering that cookies have been used for years to track users’ browsing habits, I wonder why this specific case has caught the government’s attention.

OnStar Reverse Terms and Conditions Changes

It appears the negative press and government scrutiny may have gotten to OnStar. Today, they announced that they would reverse changes to their Privacy Policy:

OnStar announced today it is reversing its proposed Terms and Conditions policy changes and will not keep a data connection to customers’ vehicles after the OnStar service is canceled.

I wonder if this change will suffice, or if legislation will still be drafted to head off future attempts.

OnStar Under Government Scrutiny

Just last Wednesday I wrote about OnStar updating their Privacy Statement, allowing them to sell data it harvests from your vehicle to third-parties. I was one of many to give a public opinion on the matter, and now U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York is calling on the FTC to investigate OnStar for what he calls a blatant invasion of privacy. From the AP:

But the General Motors Corp. OnStar service says customers are thoroughly informed of the new practice. If a customer says he or she doesn’t want to have data collected after service is ended, OnStar disconnects the tracking.

OnStar did send out an announcement about changing their Privacy Statement, and I must admit that I did appreciate the simple bullet list of changes abbreviated at the top. It’s the last sentence that bothers me the most, “If a customer says he or she doesn’t want to have data collected after service is ended, OnStar disconnects the tracking.” Since when was canceling a service not all inclusive? If I am no longer paying for your service then I expect you to stop monitoring my vehicle.