Carrier IQ Agrees To Settle Privacy Battle

Carrier IQ has agreed in principle to resolve a class-action lawsuit alleging that its software for mobile devices violated consumers' privacy, according to court papers filed on Monday.

If finalized, the settlement will resolve allegations that Carrier IQ's software -- which was installed on millions of mobile devices -- was capable of logging users' keystrokes. The software's capabilities came to light in November of 2011, when a researcher posted a video that appeared to show the company logging keystrokes.

After that report surfaced, consumers filed class-action lawsuits against Carrier IQ, as well as six device manufactures, including HTC, Samsung and LG Electronics. The cases were all consolidated in front of U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco.

The device manufacturers haven't agreed to settle the lawsuit yet, but are scheduled to meet next week with consumers' lawyers and a mediator, according to papers filed this week.

Chen sent the parties to mediation earlier this year.

After reports about Carrier IQ's software were published in 2011, the company acknowledged its software sometimes logs the contents of messages, but said the data isn't readable. The company also said that its software was intended to help mobile carriers to discover the source of network problems, like dropped calls.

The Federal Trade Commission responded to news about Carrier IQ's diagnostic software by bringing an enforcement action against manufacturer HTC. The FTC accused the manufacturer of failing to disable a code that was used in testing. HTC also allegedly installed Carrier IQ in such a way that many third-party apps could access users' keystrokes and gain access to the phone numbers users' called, browsing histories and other data.

The manufacturer settled those charges by agreeing to issue software patches. The company also agreed to establish a security program and undergo security audits for 20 years.


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