News by Dan Seifert on Thursday December 01, 2011.
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The Carrier IQ software that supposedly logs all of a user's actions on a smartphone and provides the data to carriers has been in the news the past few days over concerns that it violates users' privacy. In light of this, a number of carriers and manufacturers have stepped forward to say that they do not use the software on any of their devices.
Carrier IQ has been identified as "root-kit" software that is installed on countless devices and sits in the background, cataloging actions such as keystrokes and app activity. It has been found on numerous Android smartphones and even traces of it have shown up in iOS. Apparently Google's own line of Nexus devices (the Nexus One, Nexus S, and Galaxy Nexus) do not have the software installed on them, but other Android devices do. It is not entirely clear what is done with the data once it is collected, though there is the concern that it is being sent back to carriers for usage research purposes.
Verizon Wireless has been the main U.S. carrier to step forward and say that it does not install Carrier IQ on any of its devices, be they tablets or smartphones. In the UK, Vodafone and O2 both say they do not use the software, and Nokia has claimed that none of its phones have it installed. Windows Phone smartphones appear to be free of the Carrier IQ software as well.
Update: It looks like you can add RIM to the list of companies denying use of Carrier IQ on their smartphones, as the Canadian company has released a statement on the matter, saying "RIM is aware of a recent claim by a security researcher that an application called 'CarrierIQ' is installed on mobile devices from multiple vendors without the knowledge or consent of the device users. RIM does not pre-install the CarrierIQ app on BlackBerry smartphones or authorize its carrier partners to install the CarrierIQ app before sales or distribution. RIM also did not develop or commission the development of the CarrierIQ application, and has no involvement in the testing, promotion, or distribution of the app. RIM will continue to investigate reports and speculation related to CarrierIQ." [Verizon Wireless, Nokia via The Verge, Vodafone, O2 via Gizmodo, RIM via Business Insider]
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.