Are You Being Tracked? 8 Ways Your Privacy Is Being Eroded Online and Off
In a recent hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Al Franken reminded his fellow Americans, “People have a fundamental right to control their private information.” At the hearing, Franken raised an alarm about Carrier IQ’s software, CIQ.
Few people have ever heard about CIQ. Running under the app functions, CIQ doesn’t require the user’s consent (or knowledge) to operate. On Android phones, it can track a user’s keystrokes, record telephone calls, store text messages, track location and more. Most troubling, it is difficult to impossible to disable.
Carrier IQ, located in Mountain View, CA, was founded in 2005 and is backed by a group of venture capitalists. Its software is installed on about 150 million wireless devices offered through AT&T, HTC, Nokia, RIM (BlackBerry), Samsung, Sprint and Verizon Wireless. It runs on a variety of operating systems, including the Apple OS and Google’s Android (but not on Microsoft Windows).
At the hearing, Sen. Franken questioned FBI director Robert Muller about the FBI’s use of CIQ software. Muller assured the senator that FBI agents “neither sought nor obtained any information” from Carrier IQ.
Following Muller’s Senate testimony, Andrew Coward, Carrier IQ’s VP of marketing, told the Associated Press that the FBI is the only law enforcement agency to contact them for data. The FBI has yet to issue a follow-up “clarification.”
CIQ is emblematic of a growing number of ongoing battles that delineate the boundary of what, in the digital age, is personal, private life and information. In this era of 0s and 1s, of globalization and instantaneous communications, what it means to be a person seems to be both expanding and contracting. The battle over personal privacy is as old as the nation and as contemporary as the latest tech innovation. Eight fronts in this battle delineate personal privacy in the digital age.
2. Reading, Watching and Hearing
3. Records of Reading and Watching
4. Children’s Privacy
5. Commercializing Private App Info
6. Monitoring E-mail and Voice Communications
7. Social Connectivity