Cellphone companies accused of violating wiretap law

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Lawmakers including Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenPawlenty opts out of Senate run in Minnesota EMILY’s List president: Franken did 'right thing for Minnesota' Dem pledges to ask all court nominees about sexual harassment history under oath MORE (D-Minn.) and Rep. Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats search for 51st net neutrality vote Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals Dems say they have 50 votes in Senate to overrule net neutrality repeal MORE (D-Mass.) have demanded more information about the tracking software.

In a Nov. 30 letter from the Senate Judiciary Committee to Carrier IQ, lawmakers claimed the software could violate federal law and called the issue "a potentially very serious matter."

Carrier IQ says its software is designed to ensure that phones are operating effectively and does not transmit personal information.

"While a few individuals have identified that there is a great deal of information available to the Carrier IQ software inside the handset, our software does not record, store or transmit the contents of SMS messages, email, photographs, audio or video," the company said in a news release last week. "For example, we understand whether an SMS was sent accurately, but do not record or transmit the content of the SMS. We know which applications are draining your battery, but do not capture the screen."

The company quoted Rebecca Bace, a security analyst at Infidel, Inc., saying "allegations of keystroke collection or other surveillance of mobile device user’s content are erroneous."

But the class-action lawsuit claims that by using the software, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Apple, HTC, Motorola and Samsung violated the Federal Wiretap Act, the Stored Electronic Communications Act and the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

"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," said David Straite, one of the attorneys leading the lawsuit. "We are hopeful that the courts will allow ordinary customers the opportunity to remedy this outrageous breach.” 

BGR first reported about the lawsuit.