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Carrier IQ: What You Need to Know

Article first published as Carrier IQ: What You Need to Know on Technorati.

Let’s cut to the chase; Carrier IQ is a piece of software that may be tracking data on your smartphone. Key logging (tracking the keys that you press on your smartphone), reading your SMS, and tracking the personal data that you submit. These are some of the things that have been uncovered in a piece of software that is installed on over 141 million devices.

Carriers like Verizon, and companies like RIM and Nokia, have claimed that the software is not present on their devices, but these claims have been deemed false by those with knowledge of the software. RIM claims that the software is not ‘pre-installed’ on any of their devices, passing the blame to the carriers. In Nokia’s case, they claim that the software isn’t compatible, which has also been proven false. HTC claims that carriers make them install the software on their devices.

The capabilities of Carrier IQ was first brought up by security researcher Trevor Eckhart last month. Eckhart initially discovered the software on Android.  chpwn, a noted iPhone hacker, has uncovered the software on iOS, albeit slightly understated. Senator Al Franken has sent a letter to Carrier IQ, giving them a December 14th deadline to answer questions about how the service works, and gets data from users.

Speaking to The Verge, Carrier IQ says it will have an independent security company conduct independent investigations into whether the claims are true.

This story is long from finished. It will get bigger, as these things usually do, and more scathing details will be uncovered. And from the looks of it, this isn’t just one manufacturer, or one carrier; it’s everyone.