Sprint has decided to stop using Carrier IQ’s diagnostic software in light of the ongoing controversy about user privacy, according to reports.

A Sprint spokesperson told the Website MobileBurn that the carrier has “weighed customer concerns and…disabled use of the tool so that diagnostic information and data is no longer being collected.” There is also a report from Geek.com that Sprint has asked all its hardware partners to remove the software as soon as possible.

The public relations fallout in the weeks since the software’s presence was publicized has spawned numerous lawsuits, as well as action on Capitol Hill. On Dec. 15, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., published letters he received from AT&T, Sprint, Samsung and HTC detailing their use of the software. According to Sprint, the Carrier IQ software is installed on 26 million of their devices, though only 1.3 million of those devices may be tasked to gather data at any one time.

Samsung meanwhile noted in its letter to Franken that it has sold some 25 million phones to carriers with the software pre-installed. However, the company stressed that it does not receive any data collected by the software. Likewise, HTC said it does not receive any data from the software either, but noted it is installed on roughly 6.3 million active HTC devices. As for AT&T, about 900,000 of its devices have the software installed, and 575,000 of those report data back to AT&T.

“I appreciate the responses I received, but I’m still very troubled by what’s going on,” Franken said in a statement. “People have a fundamental right to control their private information. After reading the companies’ responses, I’m still concerned that this right is not being respected. The average user of any device equipped with Carrier IQ software has no way of knowing that this software is running, what information it is getting, and who it is giving it to-and that’s a problem.”

Earlier in the week, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request sent to the FBI by MuckRuck.com in search of information about any use of Carrier IQ’s software by the agency was denied. FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress Dec. 15 that agents never sought or obtained information from Carrier IQ. However, the Associated Press quoted an anonymous source within Carrier IQ the next day that said the FBI previously approached the company about using its technology but had been turned away.  

Categories: Mobile Security