“While consumers rely on their phones, their phones relay all sorts of information about them, often without their knowledge or consent. I am concerned about the threat to consumers’ privacy posed by electronic monitoring software on mobile phones, such as the software developed by Carrier IQ,” Rep. Edward Markey, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Today I am releasing draft legislation to provide greater transparency into the transmission of consumers’ personal information and empower consumers to say no to such transmission.”
The push for legislation comes after it was found that a piece of software called Carrier IQ was installed in about 150 cellphones from AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. The software recorded data such as carrier networks, data transmission speeds, phone numbers called, Web sites visited and battery life. The software was designed to tell mobile carriers about the status of their networks, but the company admitted in December that its software might have captured keystrokes or the content of messages by accident. Security researcher Trevor Eckhartwas the first to post findings about the software and the security concerns he believed it posed.
Markey asked the Federal Trade Commission investigate whether Carrier IQ was being unfair or deceptive toward consumers, saying that the software raised serious privacy concerns. In December, government officials confirmed to The Washington Post that federal investigators were investigating those allegations.