Carrier IQ: How To Find It, And How To Deal With It

( By now, you’ve probably heard all about Carrier IQ, the mobile logging software that an intrepid researcher named Trevor Eckhart found lurking on a number smartphones from multiple manufacturers and carriers.

According to Eckhart’s research, Carrier IQ is capable of tracking what apps you’re running to where your phone is to what buttons are being pressed — it sounds scary, but Carrier IQ claims that collecting that information ultimately helps end-users.

Carrier IQ maintains they summarize performance information to help improve the quality of a carrier’s customer experiences, but what if you don’t want anyone else to have access to the sort of fine-grained data that Carrier IQ is capable of accessing? Here’s how you can figure out if your phone is affected, and how to go about fixing things if it is.

Does your phone have Carrier IQ?

Eckhart’s original report has shown that Carrier IQ has been discovered on HTC and Samsung devices, and that CarrierIQ counts Sprint among their domestic carrier clients. AT&T also appears to use Carrier IQ on their devices: a member of the XDA-dev forums called AT&T and was told that Carrier IQ is indeed preloaded on the HTC Vivid. Other carriers, including Verizon, Vodafone, and O2 have all denied that they use Carrier IQ on their devices.

Nokia and RIM were also among the companies that Eckhart claimed CarrierIQ provided their “mobile intelligence” services to, but they have vociferously denied the connection. The Verge also reports that the three devices in Google’s Nexus line are free of the logging service, so Nexus devotees can rest easy.

Fortunately, you don’t have to take their word for it, as it’s fairly simple to find out if your device has the tracking service running on it. If you’ve got a rooted device, all it takes is a quick download of Eckhart’s free Logging Test app (currently in its 7th revision). Once installed, hit ‘CIQ Checks,’ and you’ll know almost immediately whether or not your device is affected.

Rooting your device will also be required if you want to get rid of Carrier IQ on an affected device, so do look into it. The ease of the process will depend on your phone — for some its a total breeze while for others (usually newer devices) it can be a bit hairier. A quick Google search for “your device name + root” should get you pointed in the right direction.

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