Things just seem to be getting worse for beleaguered software developer Carrier IQ. The company's mobile monitoring software, labelled by some as a rootkit and potentially unwanted program, is drawing the interest of security vendors and public officials alike.
Security firm Bitdefender has released a free detection tool on the Android Market which can scan handsets to check for the presence of Carrier IQ. The tool is also available in the firm's Android Mobile Security package.
"Bitdefender values users' privacy and their right to take informed decisions when entering a deal with a mobile carrier," said Bitdefender mobile senior product manager Alexandru Balan.
"Although the manufacturer claims that only some of the information provided through the Carrier IQ application is used by the carrier, the amount of personal data the app has access to raises serious privacy concerns."
Many people are now wondering just how closely Carrier IQ records their activity. Researchers have found the software running on Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Symbian handsets, and in some cases believe that it is able to log keystrokes.
Carrier IQ has denied any wrongdoing, saying that the software records only secure and anonymous data for analysis by mobile vendors.
The company could soon, however, find itself having to answer to Congress. Minnesota senator Al Franken has issued a request asking Carrier IQ to explain its actions and address claims that it spies on mobile users.
"Consumers need to know that their safety and privacy are being protected by the companies they trust with their sensitive information," he said.
"The revelation that the locations and other sensitive data of millions of Americans are being secretly recorded and possibly transmitted is deeply troubling."
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