John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Carrier IQ: We Volunteered to Be Grilled by the Feds

Mobile analytics outfit Carrier IQ is in Washington this week, meeting with officials from the Federal Trade Commission, but at its own behest, not the agency’s.

That’s Carrier IQ’s claim, anyway.

Responding to a Washington Post report claiming that the company is the subject of an official FTC investigation, Carrier IQ said this is not the case. While it is meeting with federal regulators, the company says it is doing so proactively. It wasn’t summoned to Washington as part of a formal inquiry.

“This week CarrierIQ sought meetings with the FTC and FCC to educate the two agencies about the functionality of its software and answer any and all questions,” the company said in a statement given to AllThingsD. “Although Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), co-Chairman of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the practices of Carrier IQ, we are not aware of an official investigation into Carrier IQ at this time.”

In other words, there could be an official inquiry — the company just doesn’t know about it yet. And that may yet prove to be the case. The Washington Post says anonymous federal officials have confirmed the investigation, and the Post doesn’t often make such claims unless they’re bulletproof. So expect to hear more about this in the days ahead.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik