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Apple, Samsung, others sued over Carrier IQ scandal

While the tech world was buzzing last week about Carrier IQ, one group of lawyers was busy preparing a class action complaint. The complaint was filed in Federal Court in Wilmington, Delaware by three local law firms: Sianni & Straite of Wilmington, DE; Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy of Edison, NJ; and Keefe Bartels of Red Bank, NJ.

The complaint asserts that several wireless companies and cell phone manufacturers violated wiretap and computer fraud laws when they included Carrier IQ software on their phones. The suit names wireless carriers T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint as well as mobile phone manufacturers HTC, Samsung, Motorola and Apple.

The Carrier IQ controversy hit the internet last week when 25-year-old Trevor Eckhart posted a video of Carrier IQ in action. Carrier IQ is diagnostic software that's present on a variety of phones (including at least some editions of the iPhone, though Apple says it has pretty much eliminated Carrier IQ in iOS 5). Several wireless carriers use it to troubleshoot network or device problems.

Eckhart detailed in several blog posts and a video how the software allegedly logs and transmits keyboard input, website URLs and other potentially sensitive information. The company denied allegations that it violates wiretap laws, but that has not stopped the lawsuits.

With the US Senate asking questions about Carrier IQ and now several lawsuits, we are going to hear a lot more about this controversy before it is all ironed out. Until then, iPhone owners can rest easy. Even though Carrier IQ is present in iOS 5, the software is turned off and should be inert. Apple also said it recently stopped using Carrier IQ and promises it will remove any remaining traces of the software in a future update.

[Via The Loop]

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