Carrier IQ - An Electronic Spy on Your Android

Well for the paranoid of us, this comes as no real surprise - would you be shocked to find out that your shiny Android smartphone comes complete with a digital spy.  The electronic equivalent of a private detective monitoring your every move, logging your calls and text messages and even monitoring each web site you access.   Why would a company do this - well here's their answer -

 “gathering information off the handset to understand the mobile-user experience, where phone calls are dropped, where signal quality is poor, why applications crash and battery life.”

Are you convinced that's a good enough reason to monitor absolutely everything that you use your phone for? Well the company concerned is called Carrier IQ and for a demonstration of what's exactly happening I urge you to watch this video - an investigative piece by Trevor Eckhart.

Now of course it could be argued that this is not an official part of the Android OS but just an nasty little spying kit set up on millions of Android devices without the knowledge if the owner. For you Android users, do you remember being asked if it was ok for all your web browsing, calls and SMS messages to be logged by a secret marketing application running on your phone. You don't - are you sure??

Of course many will accept this privacy invasion as part of the deal with new technology, they accept that without expense and anonymous surfing software, that they will have no privacy whether on phone or PC - it's just a price to pay for progress. But for others it represents a real threat to privacy and free expression. Funny that the company concerned have responded with legal threats including a demand that he replace his research with a statement written by them. Does this sound like a company you want to send a detailed profile to. Do you trust that a company that will install logging software which is practically impossible to remove and runs quietly in the back ground?

The Carrier IQ debate is going on strongly now. The company will no doubt deny everything but the evidence looks pretty damning. What is this information really being used for - I would suggest profit. The information is a goldmine to a sleazy marketing company who want to sell lists of highly profiled users to well other sleazy companies ready to buy and exploit this.

Anyway I urge you to watch the video, it's not too long and to follow the debate. I think this one will continue for quite a while.


Unknown said...

Go back to basics. Switch off you data connections after you finished with it. Do not leave it on. Once the door is closed, they can only track the time when you use the data.