There’s a lot of controversy right now about a bit of software called Carrier IQ. For those that don’t know, Carrier IQ is software installed by your carrier or phone manufacturer that records usage data which is supposedly collected for “diagnostic purposes.” However, a developer by the name of Trevor Eckhart set the Internet abuzz this week when he revealed that this software can record your every digital move – calls, messages, location and even keystrokes!
Obviously this wasn’t well received by the general public, and it was made even worse when it was discovered that Carrier IQ is installed on about 14o million devices, often times without the owners knowledge or consent.
Now, before you go tossing your iPhone out the window, you should know that Apple has done away with this digital spy in iOS 5. According to an official statement:
“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.”
Currently a limited form of Carrier IQ does exist in iOS 5, but it’s off by default and only turns on when you put your device in Diagnostic Mode… which is more than can be said for other mobile operating systems.
What are your thoughts on the whole Carrier IQ debacle? Is it a massive invasion of privacy, or a mostly harmless way for carriers and manufacturers to improve our devices? Personally, I think the sooner this software dies, the better.