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Carrier IQ: Hidden Tool That Tracks Everything You Do on Your Smartphone, Found in Android & iOS Devices

If you have been paying attention to the news regarding the tech industry lately, then you will know that there's a massive amount of commotion surrounding a diagnostic tool called Carrier IQ. The mobile community is currently up in arms which concerns Carrier IQ and that it is claimed to violate loads of privacy issues. But what exactly is Carrier IQ? And what does it do?

Carrier IQ Logo
Basically, Carrier IQ as stated before is a diagnostic tool that comes preinstalled in millions of mobile phones all over the world. This includes devices from manufacturers such as Samsung, Nokia, HTC, BlackBerry and even Apple. Carrier IQ is basically a keylogger that tracks and record everything on your devices including your SMS messages and all the web pages you visit. It is also said that it can also record each and every key presses and can be sent to a third party without the user's knowledge.

How was it discovered? A few days ago an Android developer named Trevor Eckhart released this information and from there, everything was blown out of proportion. Check out the video below that details everything that Carrier IQ does in an HTC EVO 3D:

At first it was thought that the tool is only present on Android phones and a few Nokia and BlackBerry devices but famed developer chpwn was able to discover that the tool is also present on iPhones running iOS 3 and above. Yes, it is indeed present on the iOS as well but according to the chpwn, it is disabled by default and it will only work when the device is under diagnostic mode. In addition to that, it can be easily disabled too by turning off “Diagnostics and Usage” under Settings.
Carrier iQ on iOS
From chpwnBlog:

Carrier IQ, the now infamous “rootkit” or “keylogger”, is not just for Android, Symbian,BlackBerry, and even webOS. In fact, up through and including iOS 5, Apple has included a copy of Carrier IQ on the iPhone. However, it does appears to be disabled along with diagnostics enabled on iOS 5; older versions may send back information in more cases. Because of that, if you want to disable Carrier IQ on your iOS 5 device, turning off “Diagnostics and Usage” in Settings appears to be enough.

But how do you remove it on Android devices? According to Eckhart, in Android devices Carrier IQ is automatically enabled. And unfortunately, unlike with the iOS, there is no easy way to disable the tool. According to Lifehacker, if you want to remove Carrier IQ, you have two choices. First is to flash a custom ROM that doesn't contain Carrier IQ or use Eckhart's Logging Test App. Both options requires you to root your phone.

There are still many questions that are left unanswered regarding this issue which seemed to have spiraled out of control. It is still unclear what sort of data Carrier IQ collects and if it indeed sends the information back into their servers or into a third party one. Stay tuned with us for more updates regarding this story.

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