In early December 2011, the first three – of what will surely be many – lawsuits were filed alleging illegal wiretapping by various cell phone manufacturers, phone service providers, and a maker of software used in cell phones. The claims of illegal wiretapping are based on recent revelations that some 140 million cell phones in private use have embedded software that collects every keystroke the phone user makes, including text messages, phone numbers dialed, and calls received.
The software is made and sold by a company called Carrier IQ, also called CIQ. A computer security researcher revealed the operation of the CIQ software, using publicly available information. However, the extent of the cell phone-monitoring was not public knowledge; now that the truth of the covert wiretapping has come to light, millions of cell phone users in the U.S. have reason to be alarmed.
The Questions Have Begun
Many cell phone users are now asking:
- Is my cell phone one of the many models that has CIQ software? (answer: It's pretty likely)
- How is it that this software is tracking everything I do on my cell phone?
- Why is it that this software is tracking everything I do on my cell phone?
- Why didn't my service carrier (e.g., AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint) tell me that this monitoring was being done?
- Was there some "small print" on my cell phone service contract that tricked me into approving this wiretapping?
- Who has access to all the information that is being collected? (answer: It's not clear yet)
- Can I stop this monitoring? Can I remove the software myself? (answer: Not without advanced skills)
- I feel tremendously violated. I thought that my cell phone communication was private. What can I do?
Laws Against Wiretapping
The first lawsuits have alleged violations of several state and federal laws against illegal wiretapping and fraudulent business practices:
- Federal Wiretap Act
- Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
- Stored Electronic Communications Act
- California's Unfair Business Practice Act
Your Legal Rights
If you're one of the millions of Americans who are appalled by this apparent use of illegal wiretapping by private corporations, our attorneys can answer your questions and explain your legal options. Our consumer fraud lawyers are investigating lawsuits and can determine if you have a case. Contact us for more information.