When The Verge spoke to Carrier IQ at length about the company’s controversial cellular tracking service, there was one question they didn’t include in the transcript. “Would you say no if the government asked Carrier IQ for a wiretap into user databases?” we asked.
At the time the question was reaching, but today it seems rather apt, because MuckRock just discovered that the FBI does have files on Carrier IQ of some sort.
In case you’re not familiar, MuckRock is a tool that lets citizens more easily make requests for government data under the Freedom of Information Act — “FOIA” for short — and when the FBI got an FOIA request to turn over files related to Carrier IQ, it denied the request. The reason? Apparently, those records included “information compiled for law enforcement purposes.” If you head on over to our source link, you’ll probably notice that the FBI’s denial looks like boilerplate, and that’s because it is, so it’s really hard to tell whether this means that the FBI is actually using Carrier IQ’s data, or investigating Carrier IQ itself. Still, it’s all too easy to envision a scenario where the FBI would welcome the company’s tracking system.
In any case, if you’re curious how Carrier IQ responded to our question, the answer was this: “We will respect the laws of the United States and other territories in which we operate.” That’s as fair an answer as we could hope for, but not very satisfying.