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Carrier IQ traces seen on iPhone, may be much less intrusive

updated 11:30 pm EST, Wed November 30, 2011

Carrier IQ may have logging code in iOS too

The circumstances surrounding Carrier IQ's device tracking code spread partly to Apple on Wednesday night after jailbreaker Grant Paul found references to it in iOS. In iOS (iPhone OS) 3.1.3, users can find both an IQAgent log and references to, presumably a server that takes logs from the phones. It still exists as of iOS 5, although the collector site address been moved to within the /usr/bin/awd_ice# series of files rather than an IQAgent.

A preliminary look suggests that, unlike Android device makers, Apple may have been more discriminating in when and how much information Carrier IQ collects, if any. To date, it's only believed to have included the carrier ID, location when Location Services was active, and phone number, and then may have been opt-in. Only those who have diagnostic logging turned on might even generate the information, Paul said.

No keyloggers or other moment-by-moment trackers have been found.

The discoveries could still draw controversy to Apple if it's found that Carrier IQ either collected more data or did so by default. Most of the attention has been focused on the Android implementation. Despite claims by the company to the contrary, video evidence has shown Carrier IQ's software on phones from HTC and others tracking nearly every action in Android, including keystrokes, individual commands, and even the text of certain message formats.

Carrier IQ's intentions are benign and intended primarily to help determine usage habits that can improve the interface as well as troubleshoot signal problems. By storing and sometimes transmitting information, however, it creates a risk that a hacker targeting either an individual device or the collecting servers could find a trove of information.

by MacNN Staff



  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What information is being sent?

    You can see that in the logs. Go to General Settings->About->Diagnostic & Usage->Diagnostic and Usage Data. You can shut it off by choosing "Don't Send" in the Diagnostic & Usage section.

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