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Carrier IQ does not store contents of text messages

IT news website The Register has carried an interview with a senior spokesperson over at Carrier IQ, who has put the record straight over the recent news that their software reportedly monitors activity on 141 million smartphones.

The Register has spoken to Andrew Coward, VP of Marketing of Carrier IQ where he rebuts allegations that relate to a software developer posting evidence that their software monitors key taps.

Andrew Coward explained that the reason the SMS contents and key taps are monitored at all is so they can be used to invoke Carrier IQ programming interfaces.

Messages or key sequences that contain proprietary tags can be used to manually upload diagnostic information. Those that don't contain the special formatting (such as key taps shown in the developer's demo) dissolve into the ether as soon as they come in.

"The content of the SMS is never stored and never transmitted," Coward said.

The interview came as Carrier IQ faced four lawsuits and a request by a US lawmaker for an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. US Senator Al Franken has already demanded the Mountain View, California-based company answer a battery of questions, including whether it violates federal wiretap statutes.

He has provided enough technical detail to convince the website that the diagnostics software doesn't represent a privacy threat to handset owners.

Rob Kerr is a journalist with more than 14 years experience of news, reviews and feature writing on titles such as Wired, PC Magazine, The Register, The Inquirer, Pocket-Lint, Mobile Industry Review, Know Your Mobile and The Gadget Show. The mobile phone world is his real passion and forte, having owned a handset as far back as 1994 where he has seen them grow from just a business tool to a necessity in everyone’s everyday life.