Google's Schmidt denies working with snooping Carrier IQ

Google is distancing itself from Carrier IQ, the software outfit which has been accused of collecting data on users of Android phones.

The Times of India quoted Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt as saying that Google “does not work with nor does it support Carrier IQ”.

Carrier IQ makes software that operators including AT&T and Sprint Nextel install in mobile devices. It transmits data that Carrier IQ says allows mobile operators to better understand their devices and networks, however it also collects and transmits potentially sensitive data about phone users.

Unfortunately for Google, its Android software has been linked to Carrier IQ after a hacking expert released a video on YouTube showing his Android-powered HTC running the software.

But Schmidt said that this was one of the problems of using an open software platform in that it’s possible for people to build software that’s actually not very good for you, and this appears to be the case.

In what seems to be the strongest indictment of Carrier IQ, Schmidt described the software as a key-logger which stores keystrokes.

He said he didn’t like the way the software is pre-installed and collects data in the background to report back to operators, and that users are unable to disable it without completely wiping their smartphone.

“We certainly don’t work with them and we certainly don’t support it,” he told an internet freedom conference in The Hague.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Carrier IQ says it’s installed on over 140 million handsets worldwide.

The firm has denied it monitors the content of text messages or other communications for operators, insisting it ignores any personal information and just helps improve networks.