FBI Collecting Carrier IQ Data

Every since the news about Carrier IQ broke the metaphorical shit has been hitting the metaphorical fan. People are understandably upset about the type of information carriers are collecting using the, until recently, little known software. In my original post related to Carrier IQ I stated:

Carrier iQ is likely one of the most dangerous pieces of software in common use today. I do understand the great amount of benefit it gives to cellular providers but we all know anything accessible by said providers can also be access by the government, often without so much as a court order.

I hate having my suspicions confirmed:

Michael Morisy, a journalist who founded an organization called MuckRock to ease the process of filing FOIA requests, wrote the FBI on Dec. 1 asking for “any manuals, documents or other written guidance used to access or analyze data gathered by programs developed or deployed by Carrier IQ…. In addition, I ask for expedited processing as this is a matter of immediate news interest: The existence of Carrier IQ’s software was recently disclosed and has immediate ramifications on constitutionally protected privacy rights.”

The FBI acknowledged receiving his request within a few days, and then issued a blanket denial, which cites a law exempting records from disclosure if releasing them could interfere with law enforcement proceedings. “In applying this exemption, I have determined that the records responsive to your request are law enforcement records; that there is a pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding relevant to these responsive records; and that release of the information contained in these responsive records could reasonably be expected to interfere with the enforcement proceedings,” an FBI records management official named David Hardy wrote to Morisy.

Notice that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) filed for an exemption, they didn’t claim to have no such data available. The only logical conclusion one can draw from this fact is that the FBI has data collected by Carrier IQ on hand but doesn’t want to disclose how much. I wouldn’t be surprised if the FBI has issued blanket requests for this data from carriers using National Security Letters (NSL). As targets of NSLs are legally prohibited from disclosing the mere fact that they received the letter we have no idea how much of this data has been collected by the FBI, they could have issued a demand that all data collected using the Carrier IQ software be turned over.

Paranoids are just people with all the facts.