Carrier IQ Logging Software Found on Many Mobile Phones

Over the last couple of days, there has been a significant amount of press over the findings of Trevor Eckhart who exposed the presence of extensive logging software found on many Android, BlackBerry and Nokia phones. A video showing the extent of the logging was posted and is summarized by PCWorld. The software is called "IQRD" by a company called Carrier IQ.:

After connecting his HTC device to his computer, Trevor found that IQRD is secretly logging every single button that he taps on the phone--even on the touchscreen number pad. IQRD is also shown to be logging text messages.

In the video, Eckhart shows that Carrier IQ is also logging Web searches. While this doesn't sound all that bad by itself, it suggests that Carrier IQ is logging what happens during an HTTPS connection which is supposed to be encrypted information. Additionally, it can do this over a Wi-Fi connection with no 3G, so even if your phone service is disconnected, IQRD still logs the information.

It doesn't seem entirely clear what information is transmitted and used, though the presence of the software itself has generated many privacy concerns. Eckhart noted in his original findings that on his Android HTC phone, there was no way to turn off logging. He also notes that the Carrier IQ application is embedded so deeply that it can't be fully removed without rebuilding the phone from source code. Forbes is suggesting that the company may have even violated wiretapping laws based on its actions. Carrier IQ maintains that its actions are aimed at device performance only.

Tonight iPhone developer @chpwn reported on Carrier IQ references in Apple's iOS as well, though its logging seems to be much more in line with Carrier IQ's official statements about device performance. (The references were first spotted by Intell on our own forums). Chpwn reports:

Importantly, it does not appear the daemon has any access or communication with the UI layer, where text entry is done. I am reasonably sure it has no access to typed text, web history, passwords, browsing history, or text messages, and as such is not sending any of this data remotely.

The information logged for iOS seems limited to phone call activity and location (if Location Services are enabled). Also unlike the implementation found on Eckhart's HTC, iOS users can opt out of these diagnostics by simply going to Settings -> General -> About -> Diagnostics & Usage -> Don't Send. The actually logged diagnostic data appears to be fully accessible for perusal in that same setting menu.

TUAW describes the iOS findings as "probably benign" and consistent with expected network performance diagnostics.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
114 months ago


Tonight iPhone developer @chpwn (http://twitter.com/#!/chpwn) discovered Carrier IQ references in Apple's iOS as well, though its logging seems to be much more in line with Carrier IQ's official statements about device performance.


No he didn't. I did: https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1284749

My posts here predate his tweets and I first mentioned this on MacRumors on November 25.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
114 months ago

Apple just did a better job of hiding their keylogging software.


Maybe you should try reading the article again OR may be following the story on other websites before posting asinine comments.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
114 months ago

Another WIN for the Android platform. My HTC is flashed with a custom ROM without any of that horse-hockey.

Open source FTW.


Only in the the most delusional Android fan dreams can it be called a win that someone would have to root a phone and flash the ROM to remove a legally questionable rootkit sanctioned by the service provider and OEM.

Seriously. Some of us want a phone, not a weekend hobby. :rolleyes:
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
114 months ago

You don't need to be a conspiracy theorist to accept that every major tech company - Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc - collects information on their users from the devices they distribute. In fact, this is quite obvious in almost every respect.

Yes, it is very obvious. There's even a setting for it.

Settings -> General -> About -> Diagnostics & Usage -> Don't Send
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
114 months ago

What does this have to do with anything? If you think Apple isn't tracking everything you do on your iPhone, CarrierIQ or their own method, you're naive.


or maybe just not a conspiracy theorist?

arn
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
114 months ago

This, on a tech news site, is comical.

Some of us want a phone, that we can tinker with to OUR liking, not steve jobs' liking.

Then you've chose the wrong company. That isn't Apple's philosophy anymore, and because of that, it has allowed them to make products which are insanely popular.

I never understood people who continue to hang around banging on about this sort of stuff that is just inherently against Apple's stance. Apple aren't trying to be this way, nor want to be this way, just be happy with the platform you have.

It has nothing to do with being on a technology site.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...

iPhone Maker Foxconn Says China's 'Days as the World's Factory Are Done'

Wednesday August 12, 2020 7:55 am PDT by
China will no longer be the world's manufacturing epicenter going forward, according to Apple's largest supply chain partner Foxconn, which has been gradually expanding its operations in other countries amid the U.S.-China trade war. "No matter if it's India, Southeast Asia or the Americas, there will be a manufacturing ecosystem in each," said Foxconn chairman Young Liu, according to Bloombe...

Google Maps Debuts New Apple Watch App and CarPlay Features

Monday August 10, 2020 9:16 am PDT by
Google today announced the launch of several features for Google Maps on Apple products, including new CarPlay functionality and a new Google Maps app that works on Apple Watch. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch works similarly to the iOS app, allowing Apple Watch owners to get directions for a car, bike, public transit, or on foot. The app supports estimated arrival times and...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

iPad Pro Keyboard Comparison: Logitech's $160 Folio Touch vs. Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:11 pm PDT by
Logitech recently debuted the Folio Touch, a keyboard and trackpad case designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro that serves as an alternative to the Magic Keyboard. In our latest YouTube video, we compare the $160 Folio Touch to Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard to see which is better. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Logitech is selling the Folio Touch for $160, while Apple's...

Foxconn Reportedly Begins Seasonal Hiring Spree for iPhone 12 Production

Monday August 10, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has begun its seasonal hiring spree to assist with iPhone 12 production, offering employees who recruit qualified applicants up to a 9,000 yuan bonus, according to Chinese media reports. As usual, Foxconn needs as many hands on deck as possible at its factory in Zhengzhou, China to assist with mass production of the upcoming iPhones. Apple is...

Apple Seeds First Public Beta of watchOS 7 to Public Beta Testers

Monday August 10, 2020 10:33 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public beta of an upcoming watchOS 7 update to public beta testers, one week after seeding the fourth beta to developers and a month and a half after the Worldwide Developers Conference. The update can be downloaded after installing the proper profile from Apple's Public Beta website. watchOS 7 should not be installed on a primary device as it is still an early...

Apple Watch Likely to Adopt MicroLED Display Technology in 3-4 Years

Monday August 10, 2020 2:55 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 6 is expected to feature an OLED screen like previous models, but a future model is likely to be the first Apple product to adopt MicroLED display technology, albeit not for another three to four years. That's the main takeaway reading between the lines of comments made by the chairman of Epistar, Taiwan's top LED producer, which is reportedly working on a...

Parallels Desktop 16 Brings macOS Big Sur Support, Multi-Touch Gestures, 20% Faster DirectX, and More

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:17 am PDT by
Parallels Desktop 16 released today, bringing some notable new features and performance enhancements to the virtualization software, including full support for macOS Big Sur. When Apple introduced macOS Big Sur, it ended support for the third-party kernel extensions that previous versions of Parallels were built on. That forced the developers to re-engineer the virtualization software from the ...