Legal row over Carrier IQ 'surveillance' app claims
Posted in: Mobile & Wireless at 02/12/2011 16:34
A hidden application found on millions of smartphones can log almost everything a user does, claims a US security researcher.
Trevor Eckhart unearthed the Carrier IQ application that runs largely unseen on Android, Nokia and Blackberry handsets.
Mr Eckhart said the software could log locations, websites visited, key presses and many other parameters.
Carrier IQ denied its code was spying. It threatened Mr Eckhart with legal action but later backed down.
To read this BBC News report in full, see:
RIM, HTC, Google on Carrier IQ: Blame the Carriers
If Carrier IQ is running on your smartphone, it's likely not the device manufacturer that put it there.
Smartphone manufacturers are fast lining up to distance themselves from the Carrier IQ privacy debacle. Responding to reports that Carrier IQ's smartphone diagnostics software has been found on their handsets, Research In Motion and HTC issued statements today denying responsibility for it, and Google said it had no control over the matter.
Carrier IQ Improves My Wireless Service by Logging My Keystrokes? Please Explain.
Carrier IQ says its software makes cellphones "work better by identifying dropped calls and poor service," but evidently it does quite a bit more. Security researcher Trevor Eckhart has discovered that it can as well monitor keystrokes, location and received messages, and typically does.
In an 18-minute video clip posted to YouTube, Eckhart demonstrates Carrier IQ's software as it records virtually all keystrokes made on an HTC Evo 3D. Worse still, it's shown logging encrypted Web searches, text messages and, well, you name it. In other words, it's entirely possible that the wireless carriers who install Carrier IQ's software on cellphones are able to watch what their subscribers are doing on their phones as they do it. Says Eckhart, "So, instead of seeing dropped calls in California, they now know 'Joe Anyone's' location at any given time, what he is running on his device, keys being pressed, applications being used."
Carrier IQ Tracking: Your Questions Answered
Many cellphone users are wondering whether their Android and BlackBerry devices are spying on them after security researcher Trevor Eckhart recently claimed that a piece of diagnostic software on the phones was acting like malware. Eckhart said the software, created by company Carrier IQ and installed on devices by phone manufacturers and carriers, was secretly recording user data such as keystrokes and Web browsing history. Carrier IQ's software is on more than 140 million handsets worldwide.
Carrier IQ 'not used by UK mobile networks'
UK mobile networks have insisted that they do not install or use Carrier IQ's smartphone diagnostics software, after privacy concerns were raised in the US over its discovery on Android phones and Apple's iPhone there.
Carrier IQ has said that its software is installed on more than 141m handsets worldwide, and that its "mobile intelligence" solution "eliminates guesswork by automatically providing accurate, real-time data direct from the source - your customers' handsets". The company claims that it is unique "because we are the only company embedding diagnostic software in millions of subscribers' phones".