Yes, this is yet another article about CarrierIQ, the software that reportedly has the power to monitor and report virtually everything you do on your smartphone. Most articles have focused on Android and RIM phones — Apple has been conspicuously absent from the discussion.
Not so any longer.
According to the source, Apple bundles CarrierIQ into their OS — as has since version 3.0. It’s reportedly not identical to the Android/RIM version, and can supposedly be opted-out of, or disabled at any time. Go to Settings > General > About > Diagnostics & Usage and choose “Don’t send” and you’re free and clear of the software’s all-seeing eyes.
That’s where the story takes another turn. Google, it’s reported, doesn’t load the software onto their phones (the Galaxy Nexus is said to be free from the software). OEM’s are the culprits here. Companies like Samsung and HTC are allegedly burying CarrierIQ onto handsets at the direction of carriers.
It’s interesting that Google seemingly wants nothing to do with pre-loading CarrierIQ into their OS, but Apple doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. This could be because Apple phones are “pure” handsets without any carrier bloat or other “customizations” installed. Android, as some have called it, is the “Wild West”, where carriers and others are free to do whatever they want.
Verizon, via twitter, is the only US carrier that’s gone on the record stating that none of their handsets include CarrierIQ.
All of this leaves us with some questions:
1. If carriers are okay with Apple’s implementation of CarrierIQ, why don’t we have similar “opt-in” and “turn-off” functionality on other platforms?
2. Is the Verizon iPhone also clear of any CarrierIQ code?
3. Given CarrierIQ has been compared to “trojans”, “keyloggers”, and even “root kits”, why aren’t carriers, OEMs, or CallerIQ themselves providing a tool to remove the software — or at the very least turn it off?
4. If its intentions are nothing more than diagnostic, why is CarrierIQ so silent on what their app logs, how the data is transmitted, where the data is stored, and who has access to all that information.