Many moons ago, when Android was still relatively young, there was once a company called Carrier iQ. The company was contracted to place software on devices for carriers that tracked which apps you opened, places you went, texts you received, and a whole lot more information that was then handed over to carriers to help better the customer experience.
However, while all of this information was being exchanged, the customer never knew about it until one day in 2011, a security analysis was being ran on an HTC device. Once folks were made aware of what was taking place behind their back, the company and carriers involved received major backlash, and since then, it’s been somewhat smooth sailing in terms of privacy policies and carrier transparency with regard to data collection.
As Verizon customers, this Carrier IQ fiasco isn’t something that you necessarily need to worry about. Big Red has made it clear that they do not use the software to track data, unlike the other major U.S. carriers: AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. Are they using some other type of tracking software? That’s anyone’s guess, but until it’s proven that they do, we will do our best to not jump to conclusions.
For those of you that are curious about CIQ and whether or not your phone has the software installed, an app has been created that will run a simple test to check (not reliable though?). As you can see in the picture above, my HTC Thunderbolt came back with a score of “0” meaning there were no traces of CIQ software found. Down below, I also ran the test on my RAZR and Galaxy Nexus – both returning with scores of zero.
So if you have any friends with non-Verizon phones, be sure to let them know that this app is available for them to test with. And if it does come back a detection score greater than zero, that they may want to consider tossing on a customer ROM that has removed CIQ software. (more…)
Funny-man turned Senator, Al Franken fired off a letter to Carrier IQ on Thursday regarding the company’s questionable practices. Carrier IQ has come under question in recent weeks after Trevor Eckhart revealed a major HTC security hole which led him to Carrier IQ. The software, which comes preinstalled on many smartphones, claims to assist OEMS and carriers in tracking device performance and problems. However, it is believed that the software gives both carriers and OEMs the ability to spy on users, even tracking which numbers are dialed, message content and much more.
Sprint admitted to The Verge that the carrier does in fact use Carrier IQ, but claims it is just for analyzing network performance. Sprint says it collects “enough information to understand the customer experience with devices on our network,” but that it can’t look at the contents of messages, photos, or videos using Carrier IQ. However, the original story broke when an HTC EVO 3D was shown logging keystrokes and call information.
Senator Franken has given Carrier IQ until December 14 to answer his concerns, until then you can sleep soundly knowing Verizon doesn’t use the software.
Via: Gizmodo, TheVerge
So if you follow the security arena of this tech world at all, then you probably saw the name Carrier IQ brought up a time or two in the last couple of days. Just last week, we reported on one of Android’s security gurus receiving a C&D from the company for pointing out that it along with carriers essentially practice shady business. (That C&D has since been pulled, by the way.) It has not been pretty for CIQ, and rightfully so. As a software company that specializes in tracking your every move without your clearance, you can imagine that they aren’t on everyone’s favorite list these days. And when we say “your every move” we mean what apps you open, where you are, what keys you press, texts received, and so on, all without you saying “Sure, I agree to let you track that stuff CIQ!”
What about your Verizon phone? Is there CIQ software on it? According to @VZWJeffrey, one of their PR representatives, Carrier IQ will not be found on any of their phones. We will have to assume that Jeff is in the know, since this is a topic that no one should be reporting false information on. So that should relieve you.
And what about the Galaxy Nexus? No, it won’t have CIQ software embedded inside it. It’s a Nexus, folks.
Via: The Verge