Verizon Wireless said Thursday it doesn’t add to its phones any software from Carrier IQ, the company that has come under fire in the past few days for what some say amounts to spying on mobile phone users.
Also, Carrier IQ put out another statement clarifying what its software does, in an attempt to calm the uproar, which began when a security researcher published a report showing the software could be used to collect data such as user locations, keys pressed on phones and what applications are running. Phone users typically aren’t aware that their phones have the software and they aren’t able to turn it off.
Apple, AT&T, Sprint, HTC, Samsung and T-Mobile have said some of their phones use the software. Research In Motion and Nokia have said they don’t load the software onto their phones.
On Twitter, Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson wrote on Thursday: “We do not add Carrier IQ to our phones. We do not use other similar software on our devices.”
Carrier IQ, meanwhile, continues to assert that it doesn’t collect any private information about phone users. In a statement it reiterated that its software does not record, store or transmit the contents of text messages, emails, pictures, audio or video. It captures information such as whether an SMS was delivered and which applications drain the battery, the company said. It “vigorously disagrees” with people who allege that Carrier IQ violates wiretap laws.
On Wednesday, Al Franken, the U.S. senator from Minnesota, sent a letter to Carrier IQ asking it to respond to questions about what kind of personal information it collects about users without their knowledge. He suggested the company might violate privacy laws.
His letter followed Carrier IQ’s threat to sue Trevor Eckhart, the researcher whose report kicked off the uproar. Carrier IQ has since withdrawn that threat and apologized for it.
Eckhart reported that Carrier IQ software runs on Verizon phones as well as those from RIM and Nokia. Developers have reported that they have some evidence that shows some Verizon phones run the software. Verizon did not immediately respond to a request for comment about those findings.
Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy’s e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com