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Carrier IQ goes beyond HTC, raises privacy issues

updated 05:40 pm EST, Wed November 16, 2011

Carrier IQ hidden app collecting private info

The Carrier IQ embedded background application process that has been found hidden HTC phones running Android 2.3.4 also affects other devices, not just Android. The application, which has also been found in smartphones from Samsung, will automatically send private data without a user's knowledge or permission including when keyboard keys are pressed, an app is opened, an SMS received and calls received, among other tracking functions. XDA-Developers is now reporting that it is embedded in devices from Nokia, BlackBerry and likely others.

XDA Recognised Developer TrevE has found that the Carrier IQ software is installed as rootkit software in the RAM of devices where it is stored. It is hidden from a user's view and is difficult to remove. In the case of Android, any app that has android.permission.INTERNET enabled, which is most apps on the Android Market, can potentially clone a user's device if the recipient of the data knows what to do with it.

TrevE has found a way of removing the app, which obviously raises serious privacy concerns, from some HTC devices, while another XDA user k0nane has found a way of removing it from several Samsung devices. As for other phones and other users, the issue remains unresolved and is something that may fall under location consent laws proposed in the US Senate.

by MacNN Staff



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