Carrier iQ - There's an App For That

As the Carrier iQ controversy has picked up steam, an Android developer has created an app designed to tell you if the diagnostic software is installed on your device.

The app, Voodoo Carrier IQ detector, is a free open-source app available in the Android Market. As of this writing, the app’s description in the market says “it’s unfinished (only a few hours old),” that results “are not reliable yet,” and to look for updates soon.

Why would you want such an app? Because at the moment, it’s not entirely clear exactly which handsets have the Carrier iQ rootkit installed and which ones don’t.

Carrier iQ is installed on a device by the wireless carrier or the phone manufacturer. Currently, Carrier iQ’s web site says the software is on more than 140 million devices. Gizmodo published a list of phones that “we’re pretty sure” don’t have Carrier iQ. The list includes all Windows and Verizon phones. Carrier iQ is not turned on by default in iOS but “activates, in a limited way, when you put your phone in Diagnostics mode,” according to Gizmodo in another blog post.

If you’re just joining in on the Carrier iQ controversy, here it is in a nutshell: In the past week, news has come to light that the Carrier iQ software has been tracking the activity on millions of smartphones, without users’ knowledge. Carrier IQ says the software is simply capturing diagnostic information, such as where dropped calls occur, and not personal data, such as private text messages.

However, developer Trevor Eckhart posted a YouTube video demonstrating that the software can capture just about any smartphone data, including calls and keystrokes. The growing privacy concerns have now reached Washington, where Senator Al Franken has sent letters to Carrier iQ’s CEO, wireless carriers, and smartphone manufacturers, requesting clarity on exactly what type of data the software collects and why.


Android, privacy, carrier iQ