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Samsung, HTC And Carrier IQ Face Suit Over Logging Software

The first lawsuit has been filed against Samsung, HTC and Carrier IQ over software installed on millions of phones that can capture a wide range of data including key strokes.

As we've reported, there's been uproar about the software after a researcher discovered it secretly running on his phone in November. The software, the researcher said, was logging everything from the websites he visited to numbers he called. Yesterday Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, sent a letter to Carrier IQ demanding answers about its software.

Today, a class-action suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by the law firm Hagens Berman, which represents a group of consumers.

"We believe that CIQ was intercepting and collecting private information from smartphone users that they had no right to monitor or record," Steve W. Berman, the attorney on the suit said in a statement. "Their actions, in concert with phone manufacturers and the various carriers, should raise the hackles of anyone concerned about privacy in the broadest terms."

Last night Carrier IQ released another statement in which it defends its software and denies claims that it is snooping on consumers. The statement read in part:

"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."

Another piece of news is that German regulators are asking questions from Apple about its use of Carrier IQ's software on iPhone devices. Bloomberg reports:

The Bavarian State Authority for Data Protection sent a letter to Apple today to request information about the software, Thomas Kranig, head of the office, said in an interview. Apple said yesterday that it will stop supporting Carrier IQ software.

"We read in the press about the privacy concerns the software may pose and decided to ask Apple about the details," Kranig said. "If Apple decided to cease the use, all the better."

An Apple spokesperson told Bloomberg that the company had discontinued its use of Carrier IQ on its latest phone and operating system and would clear it out of older phones in future releases.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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