You may have seen some headlines lately related directly to a program called Carrier IQ. If you haven’t heard about this program, here’s what it’s all about. A researcher by the name of Trevor Eckhart reportedly discovered a tracking program on his Android phone.
Eckhart then proceeded to tell the world that all of the information he typed into his phone was being recorded by carriers. Further, Eckhart believes that this program cannot be detected or removed by users, but that it is included in most Android and Blackberry smartphones.
For obvious reasons, this story blew up.
Many consumers across the world who currently own Android and Blackberry devices became worried. Today, users are still uncertain as to whether or not the Carrier IQ program exists and what can be done to stop carriers from detailing every keystroke. Carrier IQ developers responded to Eckhart’s original claim by stating that the program does not record information. In addition, the developer team asked Eckhart to stop telling people about this program. While the jury on Carrier IQ is still out, Mashable (the popular tech blog) has posted an article this morning about how Android users can find out if Carrier IQ exists on their phones.
Detecting Carrier IQ
According to Mashable, if you have an Android phone, you can download the app Voodoo Carrier IQ. This app exists solely to detect the Carrier IQ program on Android phones (sorry, Blackberry users, no app for you quite yet). Once downloaded, this app makes it simple to detect the Carrier IQ program. If the program exists on your phone, you will know right away. Voodoo Carrier IQ developers have told press that the app is not quite ready, so you’ll have to wait a bit for a flawless app with a smooth interface. However, you can download the app right now from the Android Marketplace.
Not Just Android and Blackberry
You may recall a similar scandal surrounding Apple iPhones. Apple was once accused of tracking and recording user information. The late Steve Jobs put an end to this rumor quickly by stating that Apple was not recording information. Instead, Jobs said that iPhones were recording locations in order to better tracking capabilities, but these locations could not be traced back to a specific user or phone. In addition to carriers and smartphone companies, retailers have been busted for tracking smartphone patrons too.
This past Thanksgiving season, many malls across the nation tracked smartphone users. Unknown to shoppers, these malls were tracking spending habits. As soon as a shopper entered a store, malls that were tracking smartphones recorded this data. Seemingly, tracking people is now a way of life – and something to be expected if you own a smartphone.
For obvious reasons, many consumers are up in arms about all of this smartphone tracking. It would seem that a person has the right to use a smartphone without worrying about every keystroke, entering a store, or traveling to a location. Carrier IQ is one program that has many people concerned, but it’s far from being the only tracking program of its type.