News by Dan Seifert on Friday December 16, 2011.
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A recent rumor has hit the internet stating that Sprint has asked its manufacturer partners to remove Carrier IQ's software from all of the devices that it carries. We reached out to Sprint for a comment on the matter, and while the carrier said that it does not comment on rumors, it did confirm for us that it is disabling the Carrier IQ software on its phones and it is no longer collecting data from it.
Geek.com initially reported that "Sprint has ordered that all of their hardware partners remove the Carrier IQ software from Sprint devices as soon as possible." Whether or not Sprint is asking for the software to be removed entirely or not is still up in the air, but the carrier is doing something on its end to stop the Carrier IQ software from functioning.
"We have weighed customer concerns and we have disabled use of the tool so that diagnostic information and data is no longer being collected," said Sprint in an email to Mobile Burn. "We are further evaluating options regarding this diagnostic software as well as Sprint's diagnostic needs."
Sprint reiterated that it was not using Carrier IQ software to look at the content of text messages, emails, photos and other information stored on phones by users. The carrier also clarified that Carrier IQ was not used for any form of targeted advertising or profiling of customers. The software's sole purpose was to report network deficiencies and allow Sprint to improve its network and service for its customers.
It appears that Sprint has stopped collecting the data obtained by Carrier IQ, and that it may have remotely disabled it on devices on its network. It is not clear if the software will be removed by future software updates for existing phones, or if it will not be installed on new devices going forward.
This week, Sprint revealed that Carrier IQ software can be found on 26 million of its devices in the U.S. from a range of manufacturers in its response to Senator Al Franken's inquiry on the matter. It did state that only 1.3 million devices were actively reporting data obtained with Carrier IQ at any given time. AT&T also confirmed that it used Carrier IQ on its devices, but to a lesser extent than Sprint apparently had been until now.
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.