Carrier IQ is good for you, so why get so spun up?

Carrier IQ is good for you, so why get so spun up?

Summary: Carrier IQ provides software for carriers to track issues on your phone to help make the service you pay for better. So why in the world are so many people spun up about the software?


The major news of the week is obviously the Carrier IQ controversy (see ZDNet related links below for lots of coverage) and I held off posting something until I had a chance to read everything out there and see if this was one of those issues that gets blown out of proportion by the media or if this was a real concern. In my opinion, the media has made it more malicious than it really is and I am not concerned about my phone usage at all.

A few years back I was asked if I could install software on my phone so that a company could track my usage patterns to improve services. I accepted and was paid something like $5 to $10 a month for each phone used and sending this data. If the carriers need this data from consumers, they should have a pop-up that states you can opt out or opt in and get $5 per month off of your bill.

Then again, according to the Carrier IQ statement (here is another statement in PDF):

Three of the main complaints we hear from mobile device users are (1) dropped calls, (2) poor customer service, and (3) having to constantly recharge the device. Our software allows Operators to figure out why problems are occurring, why calls are dropped, and how to extend the life of the battery. When a user calls to complain about a problem, our software helps Operators' customer service more quickly identify the specific issue with the phone.

It sounds to me like the software is designed to BENEFIT consumers and is not being used to track and target you. Consumers complain about these issues and if the carriers don't do something about it then they will continue to complain. I don't think we can complain about services and then not give the carriers any means to help resolve the issues. The software has apparently been running for some time on a number of handsets and I wonder if anyone has noticed any untoward behavior as a result. It today's online world we give up a lot of privacy and it looks like the Carrier IQ issue is nothing to really be concerned about.

More ZDNet Carrier IQ coverage...

Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Mobility, Software, Telcos

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  • RE: Carrier IQ is good for you, so why get so spun up?

    The problem is that these companies do not allow us to OPT-IN to this, which is how things like this should be done, to be blunt on the matter.

    ANYTHING like this: O P T - I N! It's not all that damned hard to do! They just pop up a message the first time the phone is turned on, with a warning saying "DO YOU WANT TO ENABLE CARRIER IQ?" and then let the people decide if they want it or not.

    I simply do NOT want to be SPIED UPON (which is what it amounts to if I do not OPT-IN (keep on harping on that thing and I'm gonna keep on doing it!) without my permission.
    • How do you know you did not give consent?

      @Lerianis10 I know most people skip right over all the legal crap when activating a device with software. You just click OK and continue. That's the legal catch that really prevents you from taking legal action. Ignorance does not exclude the contract. I think electronic contracts are ignored even more so. Do I think their should be a opt in for such information? Yes. Just as some computer apps ask you to participate in sending some data about crashes,and such to the developer. Will that get done now? Probably so. Will it happen again? Probably so.
      • Want to bet?

        I just bought a Samsung Skyrocket (Amazon/ATT) and it had nothing about any type of opt in other than normal Google (link to my email) stuff, the use of the Android Market and the use of the Amazon Market.

        The only piece I did not read was Terms and Conditions for ATT - mondo pages and I do not understand half of the verbage espoused.

        No CIQ stuff.
    • RE: Carrier IQ is good for you, so why get so spun up?

      Mine has been set to do not send for a long time - the application continues to collect the info - If apple ever really needs to help me with a service issue, all I have to do is change it to send for that one issue then turn it off again. No big deal.
      • RE: Carrier IQ is good for you, so why get so spun up?

        Which was one of the first good things that apple has done but that didnt happen until ios 5 as they did get caught if you remember about 2 years ago spying and it was ahuge deal and the CIQ was originally set to on for pre mid version Iphone 4s and older.
      • RE: Carrier IQ is good for you, so why get so spun up?

        @Fletchguy<br><br>As usual, you do know what you are talking about. Location services and CIQ has always been opt in. But as you are well known for talking out of your ass....
    • RE: Carrier IQ is good for you, so why get so spun up?

      Baloney; many companies do that, but not covertly. Think MS and then think about the myriad others out there that do the same thing but don't hide the fact.
      I agree however that no opt-in s NOT an opt in unless it was presented initially AND is clearly mentioned in the correct, easily found policy. NEVER opt OUT of anything you didn't opt IN to!!
  • Matthew, did you see the video? CIQ does much more than to make service ...

    ... better, it spies on you, recording everything on HTC, Samsung, LG, and other devices. There is no way to deny it.

    Every version of this Carrier IQ service is custom-build depending on the scope of data needs to be collected. For example, the version they did for Apple never tracked your texts or whatever privacy-related. But version for HTC in the video is blatantly criminal.
    • Has any of this &quot;spying&quot; actually caused any harm?

      @dderss I read that too, but then again it has been going on for some time and I have yet to hear of anyone suffering any issues or prosecution as a result. I guess I have just given up on privacy since the Internet is so much a part of my life. I do think people should be informed, but I doubt most people even care.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • Frog in the pot, Matt

        @palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)

        They're not going to prosecute until they have so much information that the general populous is helpless.

        Again, it's the principle of it. The fact of the matter is that data is being collected without consent, the user cannot review it and decide what to send (if any of it), the fact that the data is going to live on a SQL server somewhere (not that we're ever told exactly where "somewhere" is), there's no guarantee whether that data is going to be sold or not, there's no way to opt-out, there's no way to opt-in, and to top it all off, this is being done on handsets whereby the carriers - not the owners - have root access.

        I'd have no problem if CarrierIQ was an opt-in situation and the software simply lived on my handset. The problem is that it's about the sleaziest thing that the carriers have done, and we've been so conditioned to disregard our right to privacy that data that they believe is valuable enough to acquire is considered worthless to us, to the point where this very column exists.

      • RE: Carrier IQ is good for you, so why get so spun up?

        @palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller) uhgtbkm...although your opinion is just that, your opinion.
      • RE: Carrier IQ is good for you, so why get so spun up?

        @palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)

        If you don't care then they have you by the balls! Which is exactly where they want you to be! Once you release the rights to your personal information they will use it anyway they like. Sorry but I'll pass on that and you can keep your stinking phone because it's not worth the invasion of privacy...and it's overpriced any how.
      • RE: Carrier IQ is good for you, so why get so spun up?

        @palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
        Thats the issue you just gave up and figure you have to accept privacy violation. It is a service the user did not ask for or agree to. It was not clearly stated when getting the device" This device contains software that will all your calls, texts, web sit usage, pictures, abd whereabouts to be sent out without prior notice to people you have no w.ay to know anything about. This si good for you". You do know this actually leaves a huge hole especially now that it is open for hackers to get into devices. Ever wonder how hackers get celebs pics and texts from those smart phones then end up on TMZ....
      • RE: Carrier IQ is good for you, so why get so spun up?

        @palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller) ,,, It's fine not to care as long as you do so intellgently and understand that NOTHING on the 'net is 100% secure. Keep confidential information to yourself and never where a break-n could easily find it and use it. All social sites come to mind first, followed by clouds and then the rest of the 'net.
        Even ISPs with sniffers running 24/7 are dangerous if one happens to be in one of the 2 to 30 hops (nodes) your message might pass thru.
      • Actual Harm caused by cell phone spying

        @palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)

        Yes, cell spying HAS caused actual harm. Just read about what is happening with Rupert Murdoch, and the paparazi & media hacking cell accounts in the UK.

        People's reputations have been destroyed over stuff like this. Think about the social engineering schemes that could potentially occur if specific user information were to get into the wrong hands. Even cyber terrorism that could result.

        I know that I am being extreme, but I'm sure that if I can imagine it, then there are plenty of people/corporations/governments/organizations out there that can come up with much more harmful scenarios.

        We are talking about a microphone, camera, tracking GPS, and personal web and messaging history on more than 130 million people. Would you be ok with me installing sensors in your home? work place? How about going through your email accounts?

        Unfortunately the ramifications of something like this will never be fully realized UNTIL a catastrophe happens. I don't blame Carrier IQ for having malicious intent, but they will be target #1 for those who do have it, and their practices in designing their software, collecting more data than they need, and protecting consumer information doesn't exactly leave me feeling warm and fuzzy inside.
      • RE: Carrier IQ is good for you, so why get so spun up?

        @palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller) I would rather not wait until someone is harmed. Remember the TJMaxx/Marshall's incident that resulted in so much debit card fraud? If someone had been outside a TJMaxx before it happenened and realized that such crucial info was being transmitted so carelessly, would you have wanted him or her to ignore the issue and wait until untold numbers of accounts were compromised? Many people are rightfully horrified that URLs and keystrokes were captured; there's no need to wait, because haven't people have already been harmed by keyloggers on PCs? There are people who drive after a few beers who haven't hurt anyone, yet, but they still should not be allowed to continue this irresponsible behavior. I do not believe for one moment that the goals of Carrier IQ cannot be met without recording our every move. Furthermore, can they even point to any improvements they helped us to garner? T-Mobile and Sprint service in my home haven't gotten any better, for all this spying.
    • It's magic!

      How do you think the carriers transmit your texts without knowing what characters are in them? Do you really think they're going to pay CarrierIQ to tell them something that falls out for free just from doing their job? You've been jerked around by click-baiters. Software that tells the carriers what number you've dialed! Oh my goodness, we must run and tell the King!
      Robert Hahn
      • I wondered and now I know

        @Robert Hahn
        Mentally challenged.

        Call numbers? ATT already has those and the use of them is covered by contract. CIQ collection and use is not (as far as I know at this time).

        I followed the discoverers steps and found to my surprise it logs my passwords and id's for my banking. my trading, my secure VPN login, etc....

        that is very disconcerting.
      • RE: Carrier IQ is good for you, so why get so spun up?

        @Robert Hahn
        You obviously havent watch what this program does it also transmits emails and texts so personal info meant for a particular individual is sent to not that person. Images in texts now belong to someone you ll never know. Its all for your own good.. What your girl sent you a nice provocative text or email now johnny hot pants is reading it with his pants down..Your saying you like that?
      • RE: Carrier IQ is good for you, so why get so spun up?

        @Robert Hahn Apples and Oranges. Yes, the cell phone network has your text... and you know what they're doing with it and that they're not archiving them. You don't know who at CIQ has access to this information or what they're doing with it. Of course the carrier knows what number I dialed... but why does CIQ know it, and who at CIQ can see it and what do they do with it? See the difference? It's the difference between the IRS or my accountant seeing my tax return and financial information and my accounted photocopying my tax returns and mailing them off to some unknown address. Who's got them? What are they doing with them? There's a difference between the IRS having your tax return and your tax return being posted on the Internet for strangers with no legitimate reason to look at it able to read it. That's what CIQ represents here.