AT&T Completes Acquisition Of Software Assets, Personnel From Carrier IQ
Years before Edward Snowden made his revelations regarding the United States National Security Agency (NSA), there was a company called Carrier IQ, which became an embodiment of Big Brother monitoring every move a mobile user makes on his smartphone. Then, Carrier IQ was carrying out its stalking duties on behalf of wireless carriers and mobile manufacturers, supposedly with the aim of improving overall user experience.
This time, it appears that AT&T has completed its acquisition of some of Carrier IQ’s software assets, as well as a number of the firm’s personnel. As for the company itself, it seems it no longer is a business entity, with its official website going offline as of this writing. As confirmed by a spokesperson for AT&T, the second biggest wireless carrier in America has indeed acquired some assets and some staff. Several years back, AT&T had signed on as a client for Carrier IQ, in order to use the now defunct firm’s software across mobile devices in AT&T’s network for the purpose of detecting issues associated with the quality of its wireless services. Apparently, this is still the case as of now -- the Carrier IQ software being used by AT&T was put in place to enhance customer service efforts.
Another company, Nielsen, is also involved in the sale of Carrier IQ’s assets. According to some reports, Nielsen is now in the process of licensing certain types of technology from AT&T, especially those developed by Carrier IQ. Just like AT&T, Nielsen had been partnering with Carrier IQ for several years now, particularly in inking into the Carrier IQ software in order evaluate network performance related services and advertising. Other companies reportedly involved include T-Mobile, Ericsson, IBM, Symphony Teleca, and Teradata.
It was in the year 2011 that Carrier IQ first came to the fore, after a developer exposed how code made by the firm installed on mobile devices (it affected around 150 million handsets) was monitoring various aspects of how consumers were operating and using their smartphones. The data collected by the code included information on Internet usage, phone call logs, text messaging logs, mobile app usage, and battery life, among many others. When the already paranoid public (in light of highly publicized cases of data breaches at that time) got wind of Carrier IQ’s activities, it naturally caused an uproar. Then it got compounded when Edward Snowden made his revelations. Some lawsuits ensued, and even legislation took action, and some heads rolled.