Apple was probably hoping that its statement on Thursday about Carrier IQ, the software found to be installed on many devices that reports and records user activity, would be enough to reassure people any potential danger had passed. Some regulators, however, think Apple needs to do more reassuring.
The Bavarian State Authority for Data Protection, a German data regulator, sent a letter to Apple on Friday requesting that the iPhone maker provide more details about the software and its use, according to a Bloomberg interview with the regulator organization’s chief, Thomas Kranig.
Apple said in its statement on the matter that its use of Carrier IQ was limited to diagnostic information and was opt-in only. If you’ve recently set up an iOS 5 device, you may remember the request made during the setup process to allow your device to send diagnostic and usage information to Apple. You can check if you’re sending data by navigating to General > About > Diagnostics & Usage in your iOS device’s Settings app and either opt in or opt out. On this screen, Apple says it uses the information to “improve its products and services.” Apple further stated that Carrier IQ has been removed for most devices in iOS 5 and will be taken out completely in future updates.
Kranig says that “if Apple decided to cease the use [of Carrier IQ], all the better,” but the organization is still seeking more information. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) also called (PDF) for Carrier IQ to release details to the public about why exactly its software tracks and records the information that it does. Franken previously pursued Apple and Google for more information about how customers’ personal location information was being gathered and used on iOS and Android devices.
This Carrier IQ situation could result in another round of scrutiny by regulators in the U.S. and abroad, and I doubt that Apple has seen the worst of it yet.