Rep. Markey calls for investigation of cellphone tracking software


 He said the software could collect the phone numbers consumers dial, the contents of their text messages, the websites they visit, their search queries and even their location.

"This software raises a number of privacy concerns for Android, Blackberry and Nokia phones," Markey wrote in a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. "Consumers neither have knowledge of this data collection, nor what Carrier IQ intends to do with information." 

The lawmaker said the FTC has the authority to investigate whether the software amounts to an "unfair or deceptive" trade practice.

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 on Thursday. "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."