Remember the Carrier iQ mobile snoopware? It's in AT&T's hands now

Phone giant picks through support company, finds some stuff worth keeping

The once-controversial Carrier iQ phone support software has been acquired by AT&T.

The phone giant said it had agreed to purchase the software assets of Carrier iQ as well as a handful of its employees. Carrier iQ, meanwhile, appears to have closed up shop, with its site now offline.

"We have acquired the rights to Carrier iQ's software, and some CIQ employees moved to AT&T," an AT&T spokesperson confirmed to The Register.

The Carrier iQ software was thrust into the spotlight in 2011 when researchers found that its mobile software was able to monitor on-screen keypresses on the 141 million handsets on which it was installed.

The findings triggered a public outcry as privacy campaigners, including US Senator Al Franken (D-MN), demanded to know what data Carrier iQ was logging, and how it was using that information in its dealings with phone networks.

After facing a storm of criticism, Carrier iQ explained that while the technical capability to log key-taps did indeed exist, that information never left the handset. Instead, it would report back telemetry – such as battery life, internet access performance, and app crash logs – so carriers had a better idea of what their customers were experiencing.

Though Carrier iQ has been quiet in recent years, its products are still used by wireless providers, including AT&T, to provide customer support and network monitoring.

"We use CIQ software solely to improve the customer's network and wireless service experience," AT&T said.

"This is in line with our Privacy Policy and provides a great benefit to users of our network."

AT&T did not disclose the terms of its deal with Carrier iQ. ®

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