Apple Questioned Over Tracking Software

A German regulator is asking Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to answer questions about privacy issues regarding the usage-tracking software Carrier IQ used on many mobile phones.

Hot Feature: Zynga Seeking Biggest Web IPO Since Google

The Bavarian State Authority for Data Protection sent a letter to Apple today to request information about the software. Just yesterday, Apple said it will stop supporting Carrier IQ software.

“We read in the press about the privacy concerns the software may pose and decided to ask Apple about the details,” said Thomas Kranig, head of the office. “If Apple decided to cease the use, all the better.”

“We stopped supporting Carrier IQ with iOS 5 in most of our products and will remove it completely in a future software update,” said Natalie Harrison, a spokeswoman for Apple. “With any diagnostic data sent to Apple, customers must actively opt-in to share this information, and if they do, the data is sent in an anonymous and encrypted form and does not include any personal information.”

Don’t Miss: RIM Won’t Meet Earnings Targets After PlayBook Losses

AT&T (NYSE:T) and Sprint (NYSE:S) yesterday defended their use of the Carrier IQ software. Carriers rather than device makers choose whether to install the application, which runs in the background and logs user activity. Both AT&T and Sprint said in e-mailed statements that the software data is used to improve service performance.

Carrier IQ said in a November 16 statement that the application doesn’t record keystrokes or provide tracking tools. However, it is facing allegations that the software logs sensitive phone-user information. U.S. Senator Al Franken yesterday urged the software’s developers to share more information on what the product does, and whether it transmits data to other parties.