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...
- Which phones, networks run Carrier IQ mobile tracking software?
- Apple: We stopped using Carrier IQ in iOS 5
- Carrier IQ speaks out: Points finger at networks, customers
- Finding and cleaning out your smartphone’s Carrier IQ poison
- Carrier IQ snooping reports are "mostly exaggerated", says researcher