What is #CarrierIQ and Why does it matter?

I saw this story breaking yesterday and thought that it could really be a big deal. I am still looking into the “hype vs information” of the story, but here is what we know.

  1. CarrierIQ is a system implemented at a “deeper than application, but just above Operating System Level” on  wide variety of Operating Systems and Carriers. The newest information seems to peg its use on Android and iOS versions before iOS5
  2. Some carriers use it “for network diagnostic purposes”. The software is capable of far more than that. Including monitoring every keystroke and application launch.
  3. Is there a way to uninstall it? Yes. On Android, you simply Root the phone, unlock the bootloader if needed and load a Android Open Source Project (AOSP) based ROM (such as CyanogenMod)
  4. Is there a way to avoid it when purchasing a new phone? Yes. Buy an unlocked, unsubsidized phone (Such as the Google Nexus Series) or one Running Windows Phone (Microsoft claims not to support it)
Is this a sinister plot to steal all your data in order to sell you more profitable services and phones? We don’t know. There is that small matter of the carrier subsidy that you take into account when you purchase a phone on contract. But on the other hand, if you buy a phone from the carrier unsubsidized, you still may have CarrierIQ to deal with…
We will find out more as this develops.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *