CarrierIQ, What is it all about?

There has been alot of information about carrieriq popping up on the internet in the last few days. This is all thanks to the research done by Trevor Eckhart. He was alarmed by the amount of information that this simple analytic company was able to get there hands on from your mobile.

A few days ago he posted a video of him showing the results of a simple catlog debugging on his HTC device, A device he had just set up and turned off all permissions for anything asking for them. Fairly quickly you notice this has no affect to CarrierIQ. The simple program that is pre-installed without the ability to remove it. This simple program has access to everything to you and logs everything from key-presses to text messages and google searches.

The question is, What is CarrierIQ and why is it on your device and what devices is it on. Well it’s not just Android, It’s Blackberry, It’s Nokia and it’s iOS.

The company which began in 2005 Mountain View, California. The company uses it’s software to help manufactures and mobile service providers understand issues that customers may be facing. The CEO Larry Lenhart has released a video to assure people that they do NOT record key strokes and to share the stance on privacy.

HTC also sent out a press release about the issue. detailing that the service is completely opt-in for customers who wish to send certain information to them to help with any issues they may be having.

“HTC, like most manufacturers, has an opt-in error reporting function built in to our devices. If your phone experiences an error, you have the option of ‘Telling HTC’ so we can make improvements to our phones. Details about this are in our privacy policy on each device and in order for data to be collected, you have to opt-in. If you do opt-in, we protect your privacy by de-identifying and encrypting the data. HTC is committed to protecting your privacy and that means a commitment to clear opt-in/opt-out as the standard for collecting any information we need to serve you better.” 

They sent out another press release putting all blame on the carriers themself.

Carrier IQ is required on devices by a number of U.S carriers so if consumers or media have any questions about the practices relating to, or data collected by, Carrier IQ we’d advise them to contact their carrier.
It is important to note that HTC is not a customer or partner of Carrier IQ and does not receive data from the application, the company, or carriers that partner with Carrier IQ. HTC is investigating the option to allow consumers to opt-out of data collection by the Carrier IQ application.

There is no doubt that this is a heated issue and it’s only the begining. More and more people everyday are finding out that they may have a device with software that they didn’t not give any permissions to has the ability to log and send all information to CarrierIQ.

What can you do
Well, If you have a rooted Android device, It’s simple, You can download a app created by Trevor Eckhar himself called Logging TestApp, You can read more information about this on XDA Forums. This little app will give you the ability to see if CarrierIQ is on your device. There is also the Paid versions available which gives you the ability to remove CarrierIQ completley, Use a customer rom like Cyanogen means there is no chance of it being there.

There is still lots to be done about this and hopefully quickly, The concern that a company has the ability to log any and all information that is supposed to be secure is terrfiying to everyones privacy. It is only a matter of time before a law-suit inccurs and then a class action after that.

Craig O'Sullivan

Creator of Passionate about Technology and always looking for that next cool gadget or app

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