FBI denies FOIA request regarding its usage of Carrier IQ

MuckRock News reports that a Freedom of Information Act request it submitted for "manuals, documents or other written guidance used to access or analyze data gathered by programs developed or deployed by Carrier IQ" was denied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In its denial, the FBI stated that it does have responsive documents, but that they were exempt from the FOIA request due to the provision that covers materials that might reasonably interfere with an ongoing investigation.

As you'll recall, Carrier IQ leapt to the top of the headlines a month ago when it was discovered to log keystrokes, location data and other potentially alarming information, according to security researcher Trevor Eckhart. Most worrying was that it was impossible to disable or opt out of the service without wiping the entire phone.

Since then, Carrier IQ has been confirmed to be installed on phones from carriers AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. Manufacturers Apple, HTC and Samsung admitted that the software was installed on their phones in various forms and levels of functionality, though Apple said it had already stopped supporting the application in iOS 5.

Whether the FBI is using or has used Carrier IQ's software in its investigations or is currently investigating Carrier IQ itself (or perhaps some combination of these actions) is still unknown, although the FBI's flat denial of the FOIA request lends credence to the idea that they are involved with Carrier IQ somehow. MuckRock speculates that the denial would seem to indicate that the FBI has used Carrier IQ's software in investigations, as the filing by Michael Morisy of MuckRock specifically requested documents related to the accessing and analyzing of Carrier IQ data.

Morisy plans to appeal the blanket denial. The FBI's full denial can be viewed at MuckRock.

In its defense, Carrier IQ released a 19-page document on Monday explaining its software and services in an attempt to allay the heated suspicions pointed at it, including attention from a U.S. congressman.

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