It's been an interesting few days for Carrier IQ, the formerly obscure mobile software company now at the center of a Category 5 media hurricane.
Carrier IQ builds diagnostic software for cellphones that's used by carriers to suss out problems with their networks. But its software has the capability of capturing a whole lot more information about you and me, and until recently it's been doing it all in secret.
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You say diagnostic software, I say spyware -- let's call the whole thing off.
Apple acknowledged using Carrier IQ's software, then immediately washed its hands of it. HTC said don't blame us, blame the carriers. Google quickly noted that the app was never installed on any Android handsets it had a hand in designing. Verizon issued a staunch denial of having used Carrier IQ's software. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile acknowledged using Carrier IQ but issued strongly worded statements about the types of information it has no interest in collecting.
After getting pummeled on the InterWebs for 48 hours, Carrier IQ finally emerged from under a rock and issued a new statement about the controversy, as well as an interview with AllThingsD's John Paczkowski. The company didn't really add much to what they said two weeks ago, but it did so in a slightly less haughty way:
While a few individuals have identified that there is a great deal of information available to the Carrier IQ software inside the handset, our software does not record, store, or transmit the contents of SMS messages, email, photographs, audio, or video. For example, we understand whether an SMS was sent accurately but do not record or transmit the content of the SMS. We know which applications are draining your battery but do not capture the screen.