Carrier IQ controversy

Carrier IQ Tracking: Your Questions Answered

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Can Carrier IQ software be removed?

It doesn't appear to be possible to remove this software on an Android phone unless you have a rooted device.

Paul says you can stop Carrier IQ on iOS 5 devices by turning off "Diagnostics and Usage" in the Settings application.

Carrier IQ Tracking: Your Questions Answered

What is Carrier IQ?

Carrier IQ is a California-based company that offers "accurate, real-time data" to carriers and device makers to help them improve their services. Carrier IQ's data is pulled from diagnostic software embedded on handsets that the carrier and/or device maker sells to customers. Carrier IQ says its diagnostic software provides "actionable intelligence" to improve network quality, understand device issues and ultimately improve the user experience.

Carrier IQ software is embedded on more than 140 million handsets worldwide.

Carrier IQ's response

Carrier IQ says its software does not record keystrokes, and does not inspect or report the content of your SMS messages or e-mail. Carrier IQ also said it does not provide tracking tools and does not sell the data it collects to third parties.

Instead, the company claims its software identifies handset performance issues such as dropped calls and poor network service.

Carrier IQ also denied providing "real-time data reporting to any customer." Which is confusing since the company's website states, "Carrier IQ’s Mobile Service Intelligence solution eliminates guesswork by automatically providing accurate, real-time data direct from the source -- your customers' handsets."

Did Carrier IQ do anything else?

On Nov. 16, Carrier IQ issued a cease-and-desist letter to Eckhart. The letter demanded that Eckhart remove his research from the Web and replace it with a statement prepared by the company that rebutted Eckhart's earlier claims.

The company also wanted Eckhart to remove Carrier IQ copyrighted materials that he posted on his website including company training materials that were previously available on the company's site. Carrier IQ also wanted a list of all the people (including their contact information) that Eckhart had shared Carrier IQ's copyrighted information with.

Eckhart received legal support from the Electronic Frontier Foundation on Nov. 21. Carrier IQ retracted its demands two days later and issued an apology to Eckhart.

What's next?

It's unclear what, if anything, will happen as a result of Eckhart's report. Carrier IQ says it plans on discussing its software with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which may produce some answers as there are definitely some big questions that need to be answered. Not least of which is, "If Carrier IQ software is not logging keystrokes then why does it appear to be identifying them in the first place?"

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul ) and Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

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