The internet and radio airways were abuzz today upon the revelation that software on users mobile phones allows tracking every website, text message and keystroke they make. Carrier IQ's software is used to help operators diagnose customer service problems to determine if issues emanate from the device, an app or the network.
Upon reading the news reports and the blogosphere posts, it is as if Joe McCarthy has been installed on every mobile phone. Senators are demanding answers from Carrier IQ(Al Franken) and Google is stating it has no involvement with the software's appearance on Android devices (which is true to the best of our knowledgebut they track every search we make from their search engine.)
While personally I think the blog reactions and media reports are riding on the sensational (CNNMoney entitles their article: "Carrier IQ: Your phone's secret recording device" - why couldn't they say: "Carrier IQ: Your phone's secret diagnostic tool"?), the positive is that more discussion will ensue on mobile phone security, personal privacy, and mobile quality of service for the most personal of devices, the mobile phone.
Are their flaws in Carrier IQ's software, business processes and marketing communications which could have been avoided - who knows? However the software is designed to help isolate customer services issues and every wireless sub demands quality service. It is interesting how customer sentiment changes from negativeto less negative or even positivewhen customers are shown the utility brought about by the reviled product or service. Google should be reviled but we all use it and its customer base continues to grow.
The court of public opinion can be brutal -but I say give Carrier IQ a break and have some honest discussions about the risks and benefits.