German regulators have some pretty serious questions for Apple to answer.
Despite Apple's public declaration that it has "stopped supporting Carrier IQ with iOS 5 in most of our products and will remove it completely in a future software update," the tech giant can't seem to escape its ties to Carrier IQ.
The Carrier IQ software in question is what's known as a rootkit that is installed at a carrier’s request on mobile phones. If you're unfamiliar with this particular entity, it's sufficient to say that Carrier IQ raises user privacy concerns because it runs in the background and monitors and logs user activity. AT&T and Sprint - two iPhone carriers in the U.S. - claim the software and its collected data are only used as a means to "improve service performance."
Carrier IQ is believed to have its data tracking paws on more than 140 million devices around the world.
Consequently, the Bavarian State Authority for Data Protection sent a letter to Apple Friday requesting that the company provide specific information about Carrier IQ and Apple's use of any collected data. “We read in the press about the privacy concerns the software may pose and decided to ask Apple about the details,” Thomas Kranig of the German regulatory body told Bloomberg. “If Apple decided to cease the use, all the better.”
As MMi reported Thursday, Apple issued a formal statement yesterday clarifying its relationship with the spyware company:
We stopped supporting Carrier IQ with iOS 5 in most of our products and will remove it completely in a future software update. With any diagnostic data sent to Apple, customers must actively opt-in to share this information, and if they do, the data is sent in an anonymous and encrypted form and does not include any personal information. We never recorded keystrokes, messages or any other personal information for diagnostic data and have no plans to ever do so.