Is Carrier IQ that Big of a Deal?

The Carrier IQ “scandal” is getting a lot of attention (I blogged about it here), online at least because I haven’t seen very many public news stories. Some bloggers argue that this isn’t really Watergate, while others, including Paul Venezia of InfoWorld, suggests that it’s the next Armeggeddon, well, maybe not that far.

The problem, as Paul correctly notes, is that too many people think that because they don’t do anything wrong on their devices means that it’s not too big of a deal. Or, further discounting the impact of this revelation: “Privacy,” they say, “is dead.”

Now, I’m a realist about the lack of privacy in this world. Heck, as lawyers we know that SCOTUS is erroding the number of times we can legitimately any expect privacy. Yet, that shouldn’t deter us from some outrage.

My biggest concern in this matter is that the information sent by these applications is extensive, including information I consider private or secure. Moreover, I had no choice about whether I would permit the application to send this data. It’s one thing to be legitimately stupid about the installation of a malicious app, it’s another to have passive consent.

In all, I think this will eventually sputter out. Senator Franken held his hearings, an “investigation” will occur, and eventually Carrier IQ and wireless companies will “donate” enough to campaigns and threaten advertising withdrawals to make us forget about this event we will fall back into our care-less attitudes about personal privacy.

As Venezia states: “smartphones aren’t worth abrogating your personal privacy — certainly not without consent.”

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.