Law firms have today today filed a class action complaint in Federal Court in Wilmington, Delaware related to the breach of the digital privacy rights of 150 million cell phone users.
The complaint filled by law firms Sianni & Straite LLP of Wilmington, DE, Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy LLP of Edison, NJ, and Keefe Bartels L.L.C. of Red Bank, NJ, asserts that three cell phone providers (T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T) and four manufacturers of cell phones (HTC, Motorola, Apple and Samsung) violated the Federal Wiretap Act, the Stored Electronic Communications Act, and the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
The law firms say that the carriers and manufacturers were caught last month willfully violating customers' privacy rights in direct violation of federal law. Security researcher Trevor Eckhart in Connecticut discovered
that software designed and sold by Carrier IQ, Inc. was secretly tracking personal and sensitive information of the cell phone users without the consent or knowledge of the users. On Nov. 30, 2011, the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary said in a letter to Carrier IQ that "these actions may violate federal privacy laws." It added, "this is potentially a very serious matter."
David Straite, one of the attorneys leading the action, noted "this latest revelation of corporate America's brazen disregard for the digital privacy rights of its customers is yet another example of the escalating erosion of liberty in this country. We are hopeful that the courts will allow ordinary customers the opportunity to remedy this outrageous breach." Steve Grygiel, co-counsel for the proposed class, agreed: "anyone who cares at all about their personal privacy, or the broader constitutional right to privacy, ought to care and care a great deal about this case." Barry Eichen added, "today's comment from Larry Lenhart, CEO of Carrier IQ, that his software is somehow good for consumers starkly demonstrates what is at stake."
A copy of the Class Action Complaint in Pacilli v. Carrier IQ, Inc. can be viewed on the Firms' websites.
Carrier IQ has denied accusations of wiretap law violations and allegations that its software tracks keystrokes made on mobile devices.
Research In Motion said it does not install or authorize its carrier partners to install Carrier IQ's software on its BlackBerry smartphones. Nokia also said its phones do not use the software.
Apple said that some devices, including iPhones, that run on its iOS 4 operating system use the Carrier IQ software, but that it does not work with the newer iOS 5.
U.S. Representative Edward Markey on Friday also asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Carrier IQ violated millions of mobile phone users' privacy rights.
Senator Al Franken on Thursday also sent a letter to Carrier IQ, asking for details on the types of data its software collects and what it does with that information.