So, it seems that there is a rootkit hidden in millions of Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, webOS and even iOS handset that logs everything we do.
[UPDATE: According to Nokia, 'CarrierIQ does not ship productsfor any Nokia devices.' RIM has also confirmed that it has never used to installed Carrier IQ on any of its devices. According to HP it 'does not install nor authorize its partners to embed Carrier IQ on its webOS devices.']
The rootkit belongs to a company called Carrier IQ and it seems that it has low-level access to the system that allows it to spy on pretty much everything that you do with your handset. This, on the face of it, seems like an extremely serious breach of security, privacy and trust.
“Every button you press in the dialer before you call,” Eckhart says on the video, “it already gets sent off to the IQ application.”
Like I said earlier, there's a version of Carrier IQ on Apple's iOS, but it doesn't seem to be quite the same and doesn't seem to access as much information. Also, if you want to disable Carrier IQ on your iOS 5 device, turning off Diagnostics and Usage under Settings seems to be enough.
Here's a video that explains some more about Carrier IQ. This video also contains a clip from a video by Carrier IQ's vice president of marketing explaining how the company sees this as being completely legal.
There are a LOT of unanswered questions. I'm expecting an avalanche of press releases from a lot of carriers and handset makers over the next few days.
Here's a video by Carrier IQ CEO Larry Lenhart describing the benefits of their technology. According to Lenhart, Carrier IQ doesn't record keystrokes and doesn't provide tracking tools: