Skip to main content

Can Carrier IQ's new Chief Privacy Officer build a 'culture of privacy'?

Can Carrier IQ's new Chief Privacy Officer build a 'culture of privacy'?

/

Carrier IQ is no stranger to privacy issues in the mobile space after last November's discovery that its software was being improperly logged by HTC and the subsequent fallout. Today, the company announced that it has hired on a new "Chief Privacy Officer and General Counsel," Magnolia Mobley. We sat down with Mobley and Carrier IQ's Andrew Coward to discuss her new role in the company and where Carrier IQ is going now that it has a much more public face than before.

Share this story

carrier iq door 1020
carrier iq door 1020

Carrier IQ is no stranger to privacy issues after last November's discovery that its software was being improperly logged by HTC — the company quickly became a flashpoint for controversy, even though it worked with nearly every company in mobile from Apple to Sprint to Samsung. Today, the company is taking steps to rebuild its reputation, starting with the announced that it's hired a new Chief Privacy Officer and General Counsel named Magnolia Mobley. We sat down with Mobley and Carrier IQ's Andrew Coward to discuss her new role in the company and where Carrier IQ future now that it's more public than ever before.

Mobley comes to Carrier IQ from Verizon, where spent much of her time as the carrier's Lead Privacy Counsel. Her goal at Carrier IQ is to instill a "culture of privacy," so that privacy isn't "something that happens down the hall in the lawyer's office." That would apply to everybody from the engineers on up within the company. Carrier IQ actually believes that it currently already has the right privacy policies in place with regard to its products; it just wants to ensure that everybody within the company is involved and aware of what those policies are.

Carrier IQ's main customers are still the carriers and manufacturers, not end users. In that regard, Mobley is primarily concerned that they understand "how our technology enables privacy." Again, the company believes it's more about communicating what it's already doing than radically changing how its current technology works. The goal is "privacy by design" where "you don't think of it as an afterthought, you build it in."

The goal is "privacy by design"We asked specifically if Carrier IQ had decided to take more control over privacy — right now the company allows carriers to decide when and how to make privacy disclosures, since they have the primary relationship with the customer. The company said that it allows the carriers to make those decisions because they are already so sensitive to privacy issues. "I quite frankly would be shocked if one of our customers said 'Yeah, [privacy disclosure] is nice but we don't really care about that.'"

"We will not be prescriptive," Coward told us. Mobley agreed, noting that it's a "huge ecosystem" that doesn't have consistent rules or even consistent consumer expectations. "Everyone falls in different layers, and different people and different organization learn those [privacy] lessons in different ways."

Carrier IQ insists that it has not lost any "carrier customers" since last year's drama, however it did admit that it's still in negotiations with Sprint after that carrier very publicly "disabled use" of Carrier IQ's software. Carrier IQ also lost Apple as a manufacturing customer, although that apparently happened well before Carrier IQ became a household name.

"We're looking forward to telling our story publicly."

In addition to internal training and dealing with carrier customers, Mobley will also be in Washington D.C. to be "in the conversation" about proposed privacy regulations. "We're looking forward to telling our story publicly," she said, noting that while Carrier IQ won't have a team of lobbyists, the company already has a high profile so its "voice will be at the table."

Mobley will also be involved in a pending class-action lawsuit, as Carrier IQ's General Counsel, and she says she is "looking forward" to defending Carrier IQ and the pending litigation is "essentially without merit."

Finally, Carrier IQ hasn't yet launched the consumer information portal we first saw at Mobile World Congress. Andrew Coward says that it is still in discussions with carriers around "consumer empowerment," which is shorthand for carriers working out just how much information they want to present to consumers and in what way they want to show it. For example, a carrier may not want to precisely show the exact location where dropped calls may occur, but it could perhaps show a more general graph letting the consumer know if their dropped call rate is above or below average. Once again, the issue will come down to the difficult balance between customer disclosure and carrier advantage.

Carrier IQ has felt that it hasn't gotten a fair shake in the privacy drama that unfolded last November and December, so bringing on a high-profile lawyer like Mobley may go some way to helping the company change the conversation. Yet the fact that the company feels it still needs to instill a "culture of privacy" six months after it became headline news for that very issue does give one pause. It may not have technically lost any carrier partners yet, but Mobley and the rest of the company will have its work hard to make sure it doesn't in the future.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 5:33 PM UTC Striking out

A
Youtube
Andrew Webster5:33 PM UTC
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew Webster4:28 PM UTC
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


J
Twitter
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.


A
External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.


A
External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.


E
TikTok
Spain’s Transports Urbans de Sabadell has La Bussí.

Once again, the US has fallen behind in transportation — call it the Bussí gap. A hole in our infrastructure, if you will.


J
External Link
Jay PetersSep 23
Doing more with less (extravagant holiday parties).

Sundar Pichai addressed employees’ questions about Google’s spending changes at an all-hands this week, according to CNBC.

“Maybe you were planning on hiring six more people but maybe you are going to have to do with four and how are you going to make that happen?” Pichai sent a memo to workers in July about a hiring slowdown.

In the all-hands, Google’s head of finance also asked staff to try not to go “over the top” for holiday parties.


E
External Link
Insiders made the most money off of Helium’s “People’s Network.”

Remember Helium, which was touted by The New York Times in an article entitled “Maybe There’s a Use for Crypto After All?” Not only was the company misleading people about who used it — Salesforce and Lime weren’t using it, despite what Helium said on its site — Helium disproportionately enriched insiders, Forbes reports.