This story has been updated with comment from Sprint.
Verizon Wireless is denying reports that it uses software from Carrier IQ to track the behavior of its customers.
Yesterday, security researcher Trevor Eckhart published a blog claiming that Verizon and Sprint use Carrier IQ's technology on smartphones to track the location and usage history of their subscribers without their knowledge. Eckhart's report was picked up by tech blogs and other publications, including InformationWeek.
"These reports are entirely erroneous," says Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson. "We do not use Carrier IQ for any purpose."
Carrier IQ also denied Eckhart's findings. The company only collects information necessary to understand problems with devices and network performance, says Andrew Coward, vice president of marketing at Carrier IQ.
"We do look at a lot of attributes of the device to understand that information, but as to keylogging and location tracking, we do neither of those things," Coward says, calling Eckhart's report "absolutely outrageous." "If you have a dropped call, we're going to log where you were when it happened. But we don't follow you around and keep a map of where you've been all day."
Carrier IQ is pursuing legal action against Eckhart, Coward says. In a statement yesterday, the company said it does not sell personal subscriber information to third parties.
Sprint said it uses Carrier IQ’s service, but only to analyze the performance of its network and devices, and identify where it needs to improve service.
“We collect enough information to understand the customer experience with devices on our network and how to address any connection problems, but we do not and cannot look at the contents of messages, photos, videos, etc., using this tool,” a company spokesman said. “The information collected is not sold and we don’t provide a direct feed of this data to anyone outside of Sprint.”
Sprint called Carrier IQ an “integral part” of its service and said it relied on the company’s technology to maintain its network performance.