Published by LawTechie - November 30, 2011 - LawTechie

An accusation of key tap logging by an application that is found on millions of smartphones could have extremely wide range privacy implications for major smartphone companies. The Register reports:

An Android app developer has published what he says is conclusive proof that millions of smartphones are secretly monitoring the key presses, geographic locations, and received messages of its users.

In a YouTube video posted on Monday, Trevor Eckhart showed how software from a Silicon Valley company known as Carrier IQ recorded in real time the keys he pressed into a stock EVO handset, which he had reset to factory settings just prior to the demonstration. Using a packet sniffer while his device was in airplane mode, he demonstrated how each numeric tap and every received text message is logged by the software.

Watch the video here:

Apparently, Carrier IQ is a “diagnostic tool which gives network carriers and device manufacturers detailed information about the causes of dropped calls and other performance issues.” As such, this app can be found on Blackberrys, Android-powered handsets, and Nokia smartphones.

In the video, Eckhart also showed how the device recorded a search query sent to Google despite the fact that the query was sent via SSL encryption protocol.

I will update on this once more of the story breaks. At this point, the legal privacy implications of the app’s functionality are pretty staggering.

LawTechie is a blog focusing on trends in tech and digital media. Areas covered include intellectual property, cyberlaw, venture capital, transactions and litigation as they relate to the emerging sectors. The blog is edited by the firm's partner Tim Bukher with contributions from the firm's experts in their respective areas of law.


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