US operator Sprint has confirmed it has asked its handset partners to disable the controversial Carrier IQ smartphone monitoring software on it devices and claims it is no longer collecting data from it.
"We have weighed customer concerns and we have disabled use of the tool so that diagnostic information and data is no longer being collected," said Sprint in an email to Mobile Burn. "We are further evaluating options regarding this diagnostic software as well as Sprint's diagnostic needs. At Sprint, we work hard to earn the trust of our customers and believe this course of action is in the best interest of our business and customers."
Sprint reiterated that it was not using Carrier IQ software to look at the content of text messages, emails, photos and other information stored on phones by users. It claims the sole purpose of the software was to report network deficiencies.
During a US Senator’s investigation into alleged breaches of privacy using the Carrier IQ software, Sprint was revealed to be one of its biggest users. The US number three has said that nearly 26 million Sprint devices currently have the diagnostic monitoring software installed, from devices made by the likes of Audiovox, Franklin, Huawei, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Novatel, Palmone, Sanyo, and Sierra Wireless. However, it stated that only 1.3 million devices were actively reporting data obtained with Carrier IQ at any given time.
By contrast, AT&T said that the software was used by just 1 percent of its devices base, affecting around 900,000 customers.
The controversy around Carrier IQ was sparked by a YouTube video alleging that the software recorded a raft of private user data, including text input into secure websites, key presses, and the content of message. Carrier IQ has said the software “does not record, store or transmit the contents of SMS messages, email, photographs, audio or video.”