AT&T has reportedly finalized a deal to acquire certain software assets and talented employees from Carrier iQ, according to revelations by TechCrunch. The financial terms of AT&T’s acquisition of the assets have not been disclosed.
AT&T has used the CIQ software across phones on its network for years, mainly to troubleshoot wireless quality for its customers. An AT&T spokesperson says that the company will continue to use the purchased assets for this job.
Sources are also reporting that Nielsen was “involved” in the acquisition and will be licensing specific CIQ technology from AT&T in the future. A source familiar with the deal says that Nielsen has been working with Carrier iQ for years, mainly linking into the CIQ software to measure network performance related to services and ads. The terms of the Nielsen licensing deal are also not being disclosed.
Back in 2011, the Carrier iQ name and its software became synonymous with the unwarranted monitoring of smartphone activities by carriers and phone makers. That year, a developer showed how CIQ code on installed on smartphones tracked the activities of the user without their knowledge, including calls made, web usage, app usage, texts sent, and battery life.
The software was found to be affecting roughly 150 million handsets, a huge number at the time. The public was outraged at the revelations and lawsuits over privacy violations quickly followed. Governments also drafted legislation to limit what corporations could do with the collected information.