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11-30-2011, 04:35 PM #1
Carrier IQ Android Spyware Records Everything Android Users Do, No Way to Disable
Android, Symbian and Blackberry phones secretly record everything you do.
Locationgate looks like Apple tried to sneak a few gummy bears from the candy section at the supermarket compared to this. Fast forward to the nine minute mark in the video above for what Gizmodo calls “the damning sequence.”
The culprit is a piece of software called Carrier IQ. It lurks in the deep recesses of nearly every modern Android, Symbian and Blackberry phone sold in the U.S. and literally records everything you do. The program even circumvents web encryption to grab passwords and Google queries. Manufacturers and carriers are the ones installing this software and using this data to provide “a better user experience.” With no way to opt-out this is essentially forced surveillance.
The video above, recorded by 25-year-old Android developer Trevor Eckhart, displays where Carrier IQ lurks and information it gathers. The company who develops the spyware describes it as “the only embedded analytics company to support millions of devices simultaneously, we give wireless Carriers and Handset Manufacturers unprecedented insight into their customers’ mobile experience.”
Users google queries, passwords, location, and access to their bank accounts would presumably qualify as “unprecedented insight.”
The software is installed on nearly every Android phone as well as Blackberry and Nokia smartphones. Whether the phone is purchased on contract or off contract is irrelevant, Carrier IQ’s software is there. Users are never notified in any fashion that Carrier IQ is running let alone asked to opt-in or opt-out. It’s installed in your Android phone at the deepest level, recording everything you do and operating under a cloak of invisibility.
Carrier IQ has issued a statement denying the accusations stating “While we look at many aspects of a device’s performance, we are counting and summarizing performance, not recording keystrokes or providing tracking tools.”
The video clearly shows this is not true. Keystrokes submit unique key codes to Carrier iQ allowing them to identify what you are doing on the phone. User’s actions on the web are encrypted, but Carrier IQ sits between the browser and the user so everything the user does Carrier IQ Grabs and submits in plain text. Carrier IQ even ignores requests by the user to disallow applications from knowing the user's location logging the user’s location anyway. User's incoming text messages are actually logged by Carrier IQ before the user receives them. Information over HTTPS while browsing isn't even safe.
There is no easy way to remove the spyware, no notification that is running and 99.9% of cell phone users don’t possess the programming skills to deactivate it. Eckhart, a developer, even finds the spyware difficult to remove. Eckhart asks “Why is this no opt-in and why is it so hard to fully remove?”
This is a question Carrier IQ, every carrier, and every handset manufacturer need to answer immediately. They should have answered it yesterday by never installing the spyware. This is illegal. A violation of Android users’ rights and a gigantic black eye for carriers and Android handset manufacturers everywhere. Many in the Android community scoffed at Apple’s Locationgate scandal, and many manufacturers and carriers took action with their own phones to disable “location tracking.” Either that was a bold-faced lie, or carriers and handset makers operate their companies with both eyes closed and hands over their ears.
While this doesn’t affect iDevice users directly, the fact something like this could go on for so long unabated is disgusting. Expect more on this soon.
Source: Gizmodo, Threat Level, Android Security Test
Last edited by Phillip Swanson; 11-30-2011 at 05:39 PM.
11-30-2011, 04:59 PM #2
So this is all about Androids and not Apple products at all?
Yes I read the article
11-30-2011, 05:01 PM #3
You failed to mention that only Sprint and a few other [US] carriers use this software.
11-30-2011, 05:02 PM #4
My gf has an android and she is gonna be pissed when she hears about this. Lol.
11-30-2011, 05:08 PM #5
11-30-2011, 05:16 PM #6
I smell a class action lawsuit brewing. Nice post. I will stick with iOS. This is just 1 more reason i love my iPhone
11-30-2011, 05:25 PM #7
Yet another reason I use ROMS. AOSP roms like CM7 don't have this.
11-30-2011, 05:48 PM #8
I hope this opens up to question iOS though. How are we sure that Carrier IQ isn't found somewhere deep in iOS? Glad this came up before I put my pre-order in on the Asus Transformer Prime. Btw, is this only found in mobile phones or is this also in tablets running Android?
Thanks for reporting this Mr. Swanson, much appreciated. PLEASE keep us updated!! Android devices, as well as other affected operating systems, are about to see a huge spike in sales with the holiday season as well as CES right around the corner.
11-30-2011, 05:56 PM #9
11-30-2011, 06:00 PM #10
Lol people think apple doesn't do this. Every company does this it's called data mining...even though android does it illegally apple just makes you press "i agree" lol
User: what I am not going to let you chop off my b**ls!
Apple: you agreed!
11-30-2011, 06:11 PM #11
This has more to do with the carriers and manufacturers and less to do with Android.I swear, every time you writers get a chance to bash android, you do. You're supposed to be unbiased. report the facts in an unbiased way or don't report at all!Verizon and Sprint hired CIQ and ordered Samsung and HTC to put these in their phones and tablets. It's not necessarily and android thing because Samsung doesn't just make smartphones.
11-30-2011, 06:16 PM #12
it's still a breach of privacy and against human rights whether it's only a small amount of carriers/company's doing it or all of them, it's not right and they should have the full weight of the law come down on them because of that fact
11-30-2011, 06:21 PM #13
May I ask you what, in particular, you thought was biased or nonfactual about the article?
Last edited by redline11786; 11-30-2011 at 06:24 PM.
11-30-2011, 06:22 PM #14
11-30-2011, 06:39 PM #15
11-30-2011, 06:40 PM #16
I've been in the dm business for almost 20 years and I can tell you that this info is useful and valuable to marketers and socially acceptable "in it's most generic form"!!! IE: Adults aged 24 - 32 with 2.3 children average income ....... but marketing overlays have nothing to do with passwords, encrypted data, access info to bank accounts etc. There is only one organization I can think of that would want immediate, unrestricted access to this data without a court order.
11-30-2011, 07:27 PM #17
ModMyi : Apple, iPhone and iPad News so........ let's remove this already. put it in an off topic forum, not headline news
11-30-2011, 07:27 PM #18
AND yes, it can be removed. xda-developers - View Single Post - [DEV|APPv7] CIQ / HTC & Google Checkin / HTC loggers / Tell HTC Info & Removal
why is modmyi trying to cause panic with this article. at least give all the information but you guys do a much much better than those clowns at iDownloadblog.
11-30-2011, 07:35 PM #19
11-30-2011, 07:48 PM #20
Holy ****! why is this not a bigger story? When apple tracked a little bit of data it was huge, when google tracked a little bit of data it was huge, but when many carriers and handset makers track ever aspect to the T, EVERYTHING, its just on a few tech blogs?