Smartphone-makers have come out to deny that Carrier IQ – a carrier-installed software that allegedly breaches your privacy - is supported by their devices.
Several major manufacturers and software developers around the globe, including the likes of HTC, BlackBerry and Nokia have individually dismissed claims they have authorised any application that snoops upon, even innocuously, on users’ mobile activities, amid scathing criticism from the tech press and privacy evangelists alike.
“CarrierIQ does not ship products for any Nokia devices,” said the Finnish phone giant, while Research In Motion stated: "RIM does not pre-install the Carrier IQ app on BlackBerry smartphones or authorise its carrier partners to install the Carrier IQ app before sales or distribution.”
HTC echoed those sentiments. The Android heavyweight which has tremendous presence in the US, where the software is reportedly in use by carriers, said: “It is important to note that HTC is not a customer or partner of Carrier IQ and does not receive data from the application, the company, or carriers that partner with Carrier IQ.
“HTC is investigating the option to allow consumers to opt-out of data collection by the Carrier IQ application.”
Even Apple, a company that thrives on secrecy and is no stranger to controversy, has come out and made its position clear on the data collecting software.
“We stopped supporting Carrier IQ with iOS 5 in most of our products and will remove it completely in a future software update.
“With any diagnostic data sent to Apple, customers must actively opt-in to share this information, and if they do, the data is sent in an anonymous and encrypted form and does not include any personal information. We never recorded keystrokes, messages or any other personal information for diagnostic data and have no plans to ever do so.”
All a big misunderstanding
Carrier IQ claims its software is used purely to gather data about the user experience and not the user itself. It says that allegations of it recording ‘every keystroke’ on a handset are simply untrue as it sends only data that can be used by carriers to improve their services, such as whether a text message has been delivered or a call has dropped, and which applications are consuming the most power.
Larry Lenhart, CEO of Carrier IQ, said: “The data is the consumer’s data. We would never take that data and distribute it to a third party. We are prohibited from doing that by our agreements.
“We measure and summarize performance of the device to assist Operators in delivering better service.”
We like receiving a better service. However, with no clear indication given to the user as to what data is being collected or how they can opt out, if at all, it’s not the least bit surprising that the issue has been so widely condemned and why manufacturers are distancing themselves from any association with the software.
The privacy saga has spiralled so wildly out of control, it has reached even the US Senate’s doorstep, which has given Carrier IQ until 14th December to address concerns.
Are you concerned about networks and manufacturers collecting data about your mobile user experience? Let us know in the comments section below.