Carrier IQ Logging Software Found on Many Mobile Phones

carrier iq logoOver 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

Intell Avatar
133 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)
dethmaShine Avatar
133 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)
inkswamp Avatar
133 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)
arn Avatar
133 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)
arn Avatar
133 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)
Qwaf Avatar
133 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)

Popular Stories

intel vs m1 max chip purple

Benchmarks Confirm Intel's Latest Core i9 Chip Outperforms Apple's M1 Max With Several Caveats

Wednesday January 26, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Benchmark results have started to surface for MSI's new GE76 Raider, one of the first laptops to be powered by Intel's new 12th-generation Core i9 processor. Intel previously said that its new high-end Core i9 processor is faster than Apple's M1 Max chip in the 16-inch MacBook Pro and, as noted by Macworld, early Geekbench 5 results do appear to confirm this claim, but there are several...
General Dropbox Feature

macOS 12.3 Will Include Cloud Storage Changes Affecting Dropbox and OneDrive

Tuesday January 25, 2022 3:31 pm PST by
Dropbox today announced that users who update to macOS 12.3 once that software version becomes available may temporarily encounter issues with opening online-only files in some third-party apps on their Mac. In a support document and an email to customers, Dropbox said it is actively working on full support for online-only files on macOS 12.3 and will begin rolling out an updated version of...
Apple Watch Red Yellow Green Feature 1

Apple Launches Black Unity Braided Solo Loop With 'Unity Lights' Watch Face

Wednesday January 26, 2022 6:05 am PST by
Apple today announced the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop for the Apple Watch, as well as a new downloadable watch face, to celebrate Black History Month. Following the launch of the limited edition Black Unity Apple Watch Series 6 and Sport Band in 2021, Apple today launched the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop as part of its celebrations for Black History Month this year.Apple is launching a...
ios 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 With Fix for Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Wednesday January 26, 2022 10:00 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3, the third major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.3 come almost two weeks after the release of iOS and iPadOS 15.2.1, minor bug fix updates. The iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in ...
iOS 15

Everything New in iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4: Face ID With a Mask, Emojis, Apple Card Widget, Universal Control and More

Thursday January 27, 2022 12:08 pm PST by
Apple today seeded the first betas of iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4 to developers for testing purposes, adding a slew of new features to the latest iOS operating systems. iOS 15.4 is the biggest update that we've had to iOS 15 to date, and it brings Universal Control, Face ID with a mask, new emojis, and tons more. Face ID With a Mask With iOS 15.4, there is now an option to unlock your iPhone...
mobeewave

Upcoming iOS Update Will Allow iPhones to Accept Credit Cards Directly Using NFC

Wednesday January 26, 2022 6:00 pm PST by
Apple is working on a new payments service that will allow iPhones to accept payments directly on device with no additional hardware, reports Bloomberg. Right now, iPhones can accept credit cards with add-ons like the Square Reader, but Apple's new technology will eliminate the need for a third-party product. Individuals and small businesses will be able to accept payments with the tap of a...
macOS Monterey on MBP Feature

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.2 With Safari Vulnerability Fix

Wednesday January 26, 2022 10:19 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.2, the second major update to the macOS Monterey update that launched in October. macOS Monterey 12.2 comes over a month after the release of the 12.1 update, which brought SharePlay support. The ‌‌‌macOS Monterey 12.2‌‌ update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. Apple has also...