Friday, December 02, 2011

Carrier IQ and Your Phone: Everything You Need to Know

There’s a storm of controversy flaring up over Carrier IQ, cellphone software that logs user activity and relays at least some of that information to wireless carriers. The carriers say they’ll use that data to improve their networks. But anything that’s peeking in on what you’re doing on a phone raises a host of privacy concerns, and many users are suspicious.

Carrier IQ is so controversial for a few reasons:

  • It’s hidden. Short of rooting, or removing certain software safeguards to obtain “administrator” access to your phone, it’s almost impossible to know if it’s there.

  • It’s everywhere. The software reportedly exists on millions of handsets on several carriers, including many Android phones and even some versions of the iPhone.

  • It’s not opt-in. Without the user’s explicit approval, the software is enabled and gathering data on the phone.

  • It’s voracious. According to Trevor Eckhart, who created the recent explosion of attention on Carrier IQ with a video he posted on YouTube earlier this week, the software logs every keystroke and incoming text message. However, there’s some question about how much of this information is actually sent to the carriers.

Here are the most important things you should know about this previously little-known piece of software:
Carrier IQ and Your Phone: Everything You Need to Know

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