Steve Jobs Was Right, Android Logs Everything [Video]

Back in April, Apple had a bit of a PR problem when it was discovered that iPhones were storing a cache of data on which GPS locations that handset had visited in an unencrypted file. The whole thing was just a bug, but the controversy was dubbed LocationGate, and Apple even had to testify in front of the Senate about the matter.

The whole fiasco even prompted an email from Steve Jobs, which dropped something of a bombshell: he said Apple doesn’t track anyone’s location, but that Android tracked everyone.

At the time, there wasn’t a lot of proof to back up Steve’s assertion, but as it often does, time has proven Steve Jobs right. Android phones do track you. In fact, software that comes pre-installed on millions of Android, BlackBerry and Nokia phones log everything you do with your device, and sends them off secretly to its own servers.

25-year-old Android developer Trevor Eckhart has discovered a piece of software that comes installed on most Android, BlackBerry and Nokia phones called Carrier IQ secretly logs everything a user does with his or her phone, including text messages, encrypted web searches, phone calls, location and, well, you name it.

What is Carrier IQ? Ostensibly, it is software meant to monitor a user’s experience with a phone so that carriers and phone manufacturers can do quality control. However, Eckhart calls the software a “rootkit,” which prompted Carrier IQ to threaten him with a huge lawsuit and deny that its software logs keystrokes.

To see how invasive Carrier IQ is, a video posted by Eckhart shows that the software not only intercepts encrypted web searches, but logs each number as he dials it, and even received or sent text messages.

Once logged, Carrier IQ then sends all of this data to its own servers. That’s incredible. One privately held company that almost no one has ever heard of has the complete logs of every email, phone call, web search and text message ever sent or received by millions of Android, Blackberry and Nokia users.

Absolutely insane. Even worse? There’s no way to opt out of the Carrier IQ “service.” On Android phones, your only choice is to root your phone and replace the operating system with one without the software pre-installed.

This is absolutely insane. Apple was practically crucified over LocationGate, which was just a cache of GPS locations stored on users’ home machines. Meanwhile, almost every Android phone out there is reading people’s emails and logging their passwords, while no one bats an eye.

Related
  • David Clark

    Wonder if anything will come of this…

  • Joshua Rieken

    Hang on a sec. Though I see this finding as a serious infringement of user privacy, this article contains inaccuracies. First, as far as we know, this is only happening on Sprint phones. Second, the video does not show proof that the data is being transmitted to a third party, only that the CIQ app is capable of seeing the information.

    In the future, please refrain from making such grand pronouncements as “Android is recording everything” and claiming that Android phones send info off to secret servers until there is more public proof.

  • jeanlouisnguyen

    Network carriers want to log ‘sms received’ and ‘call received’ intents. I am shocked. Utterly shocked. 

  • Jon Norris

    Holy misleading headline, Batman!

  • Asszem

    “Meanwhile, almost every Android phone out there is reading people’s emails and logging their passwords, while no one bats an eye.”
    This is a very serious accusation, are you absolutely sure that it is a true statement?

  • gareth edwards

    semantics aside, this video and it’s creator raise some very serious questions. Software that runs without user agreement, software that logs user actions to the point lunacy without the user either knowing about it or being able to opt out of it.  It’s a can of worms.

  • jeanlouisnguyen

    The headline is textbook sensationalism. First, when Brownlee says ‘Android’ above, he means ‘a sample of RIM, Nokia and Android devices’. But it could be on every device and it doesn’t really matter. Second, CarrierIQ logs intents such as ‘sms received’ and ‘call received’, which like it or not, are logged by your network carrier anyway (then linked to their billing system). The software is currently running on 150 million devices right now – Carrier IQ did not disclose the breakdown by mobile OS or manufacturer. That, I would be interested to know. Third, CarrierIQ CEO Larry Lenhart is a former consultant for names like AT&T, British Telecom and Verizon NJ – which are probably now its clients. The company is also in partnership with Nielsen, information and measurement company. If Brownlee really wanted to dig deeper, he’d point his fingers to those companies who mandate the installation of this software in the first place (carriers).

  • kevgr5

    i hope google sues the _hit out of you , if this is staged !!!!!

  • davrosuk

    Indeed. I don’t think it’s even nearly true. It’s not all networks and probably none outside the US. Either way it’s not the fault of Android if the carrier decides to go installing software. I’m sure they’d try and poke some software onto our iPhones if they were able to!

  • Doug Andor

    ss

  • Daniel Harris

    An excellent example of why letting carriers customize phones with their own “bonus” software is just a bad idea. I much prefer Apple’s method of having a standard install regardless of carrier.

  • Alfiejr

    it’s simply an outrage users cannot opt out and there is no disclosure. just trust C!Q to never do the wrong thing with your data (read their press release). yeah, it’s not “everything,” but it shouldn’t be anything at all. this should be illegal.

    Fandroids will launch hypocritical apologia for this of course. they will always be in denial that data mining all of us is at the heart of the Google business plan. CIQ is just one more vector. “it’s Open” and “Do No Evil” my ass. YOU, my dear Google services/software user, are the real product that Google sells to it real customers, the advertisers.

  • gabriel jones

    Face it Android users, your device is made by a company that generates a profit off of information. Google records/logs everything you do with all of their “free” services. How do you think they are able to make Google Mail, Google Voice, etc for free? You give them information that allows them to sell to companies for $$$ and you get free services. This is a Mac blog and Android users actually expect the article to not stress the fact that your handset is not safe by a long shot. Not only is it vulnerable to malware, you’ve now realized your own carrier/handset maker is logging all your information without consent. Apple has now made an iPhone for every budget so theres no excuse not to be on a more secure device by now, you are only hurting yourself.

  • KrushRadio

    Wow, so, you’re displaying the communication that happens between the operating system and the hardware.  The only logging I saw, is that you were saving this information on your computer.  How about showing us where these ‘logs’ are stored in the file system… or where they are logged in a database (sqlite is the db of choice tbh).  Not sure what you’re hopped up on @ 4am to come up with this crazyness, but before you post something, why not try to understand what you’re looking at.

  • KrushRadio

    Exactly, all he is doing is debugging the communication between software and hardware.. he’s not showing anything about where this data is stored or transferred.

  • KrushRadio

    You’re just as mis-informed as the person who wrote this is.. Do you even know what he’s showing here?  He went into usb debug mode and is watching what happens when the hardware talks to the software.  Do you even know how an operating system works?  The only logging happened on the guys screen where he saved the information.  He has not shown where the data is being saved to, or where it is being transferred to someone else.

  • Doug Andor

    This is an inaccurate and misleading article.  Carrier IQ is not part of the Android OS.  It is third party software that is installed by Verizon and Sprint on Blackberry, Symbian and Android phones.

  • Hampus

    I clearly showed the HTC IQ agent and IQRD, the second of which had permissions to everything and where running hidden in the background…

    Further, if you had looked and listened you would have know that wasn’t just purely interaction between the OS and the hardware, we also saw that a service, this IQ agent, did something everytime he pressed a button be it software or hardware.
    Same for the SMS the IQ agent service was called and did something.
    Same for a URL in the browser.

    I’ll give you that he did not show where all of this is saved or any packages being sent anywhere. However he clearly shows that this Carrier IQ which is a logging service is being called every time he does something so there clearly is a lot more merit to his video than you claim.

    I just as you would like to actually see the log there is some pretty clear proof that certain service is doing a something everyone something is done on the phone.

  • imajoebob

    Let’s face it: Apple’s always been the charming guy who steals from you, but you still love him despite it. Microsift is the benevolent dictator that does things that harm you, but ‘for your own good.”  Google is, was, and always will be the true Evil Empire.  Look no further than the raft of political prisoners in China they ratted out for proof – AFTER the Chinese were caught attacking Google’s networks.

  • kelaiem

    Carrier IQ acknowledges that they transmit encrypted information to their servers and shared with their carrier customers: http://carrieriq.com/Media_Ale

  • Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    Nothing.

    People ( Android developers ) knew of this, but just ignore it.
    It is open, they say.

    Apple is not supposed t win, Apple is obtuse to licensing its software.
    Licensing IS what they call open, otherwise WHY nobody calls Microsoft out on XBox close system?

  • Honey Badger

    If true, this is big news for sure. 

    I’d suggest that we take a step back, slow down and make sure we absolutely know what is happening here before jumping to any conclusions. It’s certainly beyond my scope of expertise. I would be surprised if Android wasn’t harvesting the data of it’s users since that’s how Google generates the lion’s share of it’s revenue. I’ve always just assumed that they track us all whenever that they can. I opt out of anything Google wherever I can for that very reason. I don’t trust them.

  • Hynek Los

    well and what it have t do with android. blame your mobile operators, who are sniffing on users…. nokia, blackberry was there also. i doubt, there is no sniffer included in iphone as welll…

  • TheMacAdvocate

    I rarely make it past the 2:00 mark with any YouTube video, but I took in all 17 minutes of this one. This is absolutely mind-blowing. The fact that this information resides anywhere on your phone, let alone a location that has to be ferreted out, is concerning. The fact that you can’t opt out or force quit the app at all is appalling.

  • biff98786

    Wow, so many inaccuracies. Where to start…

    First, this isn’t Google. In fact, pure naked AOSP Android by Google doesn’t have any traces of CIQ in there. Had you payed attention you would have caught that this is all added by the carriers (hence the name CarrierIQ). Google has nothing to do with it.

    Second, you’re incredibly naive if you think the iPhone is a “secure” device and that Apple hasn’t been mining and whoring iPhone data for years. It’s right in their EULA that you’ve likely never read. They’ve been busted by the FCC time and time again. Just recently even they got busted for logging your location every few seconds and phoning it home to Cupertino even if location services were turned off. Remember that??

    Third, I’m not sure about other carriers, but Steve Jobs explicitly gave Verizon permission to mine iPhone data and sell it to advertisers. Go read Verizon’s terms of use if you don’t believe me, it’s right there in plain text.

    Fourth, it was just discovered today that an exploit in iTunes has allowed for data mining for at least 3 years. I can’t post links here but google “Apple iTunes flaw ‘allowed government spying for 3 years’” and you’ll find the stories.

    Finally, now reports are postulating that Apple has also had this software installed for years and security developers are working to verify.

    So much for your “holier than thou” my iPhone can beat up your Android argument, champ.

  • payaxy

    Dear John Brownlee,

    Holy crap!

    I know this is cultofmac.com, but seriously? There is a nice term for what you did there: FUD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F….
     

    I especially enjoyed the part when you took an action of mobile operators and blamed Android for it. Or was it the sensational title of the article. No, perhaps the part where you acknowledge that problem is concerning at least 3 smartphone platform, followed by prompt bashing of Android alone. Or wise words of SJ himself, proving thus that everything in the article is correct and factual…

    Appalled by the fact that you have the audacity to call yourself “news editor”.

    Best regards,
    etc.

    PS: the only  part worth noting here from purely Android point of view is that Android devices give you in fact a possibility to get rid of this “installled by your kindly TelCo operator (TM)” spy software by installing custom ROM ;-)

  • Joris Van Dorp Schuitman

    What else is new?

  • Elitist Not

    This article could have been good but ended up idiotic.   ‘No one batted an eye’… yeah, no one, that is why there are a million articles about carrier IQ, of which, most provide far more information than this next to useless article.  This is a serious issue for many android users and phone users in general, because this problem doesn’t steam only from Androids.  The carriers (especially Sprint and Verizon) have agreed to this software being planted on the phones and being used without informing their customers.  Shows what these carriers are really like.  And remember, you don’t need to gather info on the phone side, although that does provide much better info and more of it, the carriers can gather endless streams of data and info on the their side and a lot of that data are going through to data processing centers and being analyzed for whatever the government wants to red flag.  There are many Android devices that do not have this rootkit spyware on them.  Regardless though, if you phone is a carrier IQ rootkit smartphone, a clean Android smartphone, an iPhone, a Nokia, blackberry or any type of cellular device, then your data is being analyzed… plain and simple.  The real controversy is how you are being spied on all the time at all different levels.  This android mess is just at the phone level and it should be stopped.  But all the spying at all levels should be stopped and people should be outraged about all of it.

  • gabriel jones

    You have a great point, I am not a security expert and I am not aware of a lot of the “logging/mining” that goes on with all the new age electronics. Yes I was aware of the “LocationGate” situation, bear in mind its only location. Common everyday apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and even Pandora already use your location so that is nothing new. Having every keystroke and gesture done on your device logged and sent to a server is another story. I speak on behalf of Mac owners and iPhone users, our devices are secure enough to protect us from foul play such as losing CC information, identity theft, and so on. Apple makes these devices so obviously they are going to want some sort of data from the users in order to improve them and add better features. There is only so much you can conclude from logging a persons every move, email, call, text, etc. Its invasive and wrong but yet Android users still defend their OS. I am an Apple fanatic so I know little to nothing about “Google” phones but Im sure if they are titled as a “Google” device that they have some access to the information on them, why else would Google put their name them? A billion dollar company would put their name on a device which they have nothing to do with? Google is the information cookie monster, it is how they survive. You would have to be a fool not to believe that Google receives any type of data from Android devices, its common sense. It is 2011 and there are many things that the public eye can not see nor access, this video just proves to the non-believers that almost none of our information is safe no matter what device we use. To avoid a never ending discussion I will leave on this note, in my opinion we are all vulnerable to logging/mining its inevitable however I will continue to use an iPhone as I feel they are more secure compared to other phones.

  • anuran

    Even my tethering without paying for it?

  • gabriel jones

    Notice how many tweets & shares this article is getting. Nearly 1000 for both and its still mid day. If you check out a few pages on the CoM blog, you can tell they are not used to getting those kinds of numbers for their articles. Not that they aren’t worthy of them, but this one topic in particular will spark a never ending discussion/argument unless some concrete evidence is shown.

  • Nicolas Estrem

    Rubish, this app is not part of Android OS but a third part. Let me write an article about third part companies writing apps on iPhone stealing information as well.

  • Asszem
  • Alfiejr

    Dear Fandroids: this is spyware, pure and simple. don’t give us that “it’s open” or “they all do it” [except Apple] BS. deal with it.

  • STRIPBLUNTS

    Too bad SUCKERS!!!

  • MJ4Ev3r

    It makes a LOT OF SENSE!  Every time I google an item…let’s say an appliance. a phone, real estate, books…whatever consumer items I am interested in, I automatically receive spam emails on my laptop inbox of advertisements of the very items that I just googled…Google is tracking everything for its OWN interests!

    BOYCOTT GOOGLE and ALL ITS PRODUCTS, IF YOU WANT TO RETAIN YOUR PRIVACY!

  • Liquidmark

    News Flash!: Steve Jobs was right! …again!

    News at 11

  • Budo

    Carriers, not Google. Android is open, but it’s open to this as well. It is regrettable but hardly anyone’s fault but the carriers. XBox is closed and nobody cares because it’s gaming, not general computing and communication.

  • Budo

    I’ve seen it tweeted and retweeted by people who should know better. Mission accomplished, I guess.

  • James Katt

    This will not be stopped until some astute lawyer files a class action lawsuit alleging invasion of privacy and wiretapping.  That lawyer is going to get millions of dollars.  This is one case where lawyers can do good.

    Anyone needs a lawsuit?  Any lawyer willing to make millions????

  • James Katt

    What about you Europeans with your stricter privacy laws????  Lawsuit anyone???

  • James Katt

    What about you Koreans, who won the locationgate lawsuit against Apple????  Want bigger bucks?

  • James Katt

    If I had an Android phone, I’d be suing right now.  Fortunately, I have an iPhone

  • charliesheenhardcore

    WOW! It’s a probe in your pocket. Just like steve said. I’ll never use an android device. Ever. I can’t belive i had used one in the past. The android experience was terrible as it is. But this just tops it all off how it’s all lies with google and all about the money. Never about the customer. Just like how they used flash as their main selling point to android. Even though having flash on an mobile device was a terrible idea and a security threat.  

  • charliesheenhardcore

    dude did you not just see how clear the video and explanation was? It’s a probe in your pocket. 

  • charliesheenhardcore

    Dude.. yes it is. The OS becomes the carries and hardware makers OS. This goes back to the fact that android is FRAGMENTED because the carrier and hardware maker controls what happens on an android device. This is why open source fails. 

  • charliesheenhardcore

    Are you half of a retard? You don’t even have a CLUE what you are talking about. 

  • Honey Badger

    I did. It looks bad, but I’m not a programmer. Oh and it’s not a probe in my pocket. I carry an iPhone 4S not an iPhone wannabe.

  • charliesheenhardcore

    Get real bro! Go read up on symantec about how horribly flawed the Android OS is. It’s a fact. The iphone and IOS will always be more secure than an android device. The closed system allows apple to monitor everything in such a tight nit way. I can grab an android phone right now search for an app that actually pretends to be another companies app that is instead filled with malware. These are facts my friend. Google does not care about their users. They care about money and ads. I mean no one expected the RIP off OS to be any good anyway. It’s clearly proven that it’s not. It’s declining numbers are proof. The data shows android users wind up not being happy with their experience. Further more apple is actually making google most of it’s money with their ads for IOS. Face it man android is not only horribly unimaginative, non revolutionary, but it’s also a probe in your pocket. Have fun with the carrier bloat ware, terrible build quality, horribly ugly and non usable OS. Oh and that market place. LOL. That market place is the biggest joke of all. Google is good at search. They should stick to search.

  • Aaron Hawryluk

    Except this is installed by the carrier/manufacturer and isn’t part of Android. My Android, fr’instance, doesn’t run CIQ (I checked in debug mode).

  • Aaron Hawryluk

    Except this information isn’t going to Google, it’s going to CIQ, on behalf of the carrier.

  • charliesheenhardcore

    The problem is the majority of users are not running on a pure google experience which is why the actual truth of the matter and the problem with android is that it’s Fragmented. Andy Rubin likes to down play the true facts.

  • Jordan Grosh

    It was on iOS up through 3.1. https://twitter.com/#!/chpwn/s

  • Honey Badger

    Yes, you are correct, it appears that way. Someone needs to be accountable for this.

    I still don’t trust Google or Android though. Google’s primary business is harvesting and selling information on us to anyone with a check book. Users are nothing more than food for Google, they suck people in with free services and then their souls. Apple isn’t perfect, but I trust them way more than Google.

  • Goldie20

    This video shows nothing of the sort. It is carrier installed software, not Android. There is nothing to say where these files are going, and given this video we have no way of even knowing if the video is even authentic. The only thing this video, and this article prove, is that John has spilled more kool-aid on the floor and, as usual, it’s being licked up.

  • Chester Moy

    And then the iOS hackers chime in to say:

    http://www.theverge.com/2011/1

  • windstorm
  • jamiek88

    But the point is, they are not able to. Say what you like about the iPhone, carriers still cannot install ANYTHING.

  • Steven Gibbs

    How did Steve Jobs know?  Because it’s installed as part of iOS as well - http://thenextweb.com/apple/20

  • Mark&Frances

    My phone tracks me…………….wow thats new’s? do I care……NO. All carriers can track their phones, what do they use the data for, probably to improve reception/coverage. Your car sat nav stores places it has been, your ISP tracks what you view. Live with it, it’s the price we pay for technology.

  • Lee Davies

    http://thenextweb.com/apple/20

    I’ll just leave this here.

  • Lee Davies

    http://thenextweb.com/apple/20
    I’ll just leave this here…

  • Korey_Nicholson

    You know what is funny? Carrier IQ has been found in iOS devices too because Apple is another one of their clients. So jokes on you JOBS!

  • Christopher Dawson

    Disingenuous presentation like the title of this piece is why people think Apple advocates in general are douchey fanboys.

    Jobs’ baseless assertion was intended to impugn his company’s main competitor (Google) by suggesting their open-source Android platform was secretly gathering users’ data…much like his iOS devices were found to be doing already.  Your conclusion that he has been “proven right” demonstrates you to be a fawning neophyte with very little actual understanding of the facts.

    The reality is that an independent company (Carrier IQ) developed this snooping code for *multiple* mobile platforms: BBOS, iOS, and Android.  I’m sure the only reason Windows Phone isn’t on that list is because of Microsoft’s obstinate predilection for building their own stuff, not because their devices aren’t also collecting user data.  This code was licensed by carriers and device makers for use in their products they market.

    So in truth, it’s the customers of CIQ who are the spies at work: that would be Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, RIM, and of course…Apple.

    Somehow ascribing nefarious intent to the Android platform itself (which any device maker is free to use with or without customization) makes about as much logical sense as blaming the freeway construction crew for the drunk drivers using the roads.

  • davrosuk

    Yup. I agree with you. Good job too – I hate the stuff the carriers force on all the other mobiles. You know exactly where you are with an iPhone – no carrier junkware/spyware.

    The headline of the article was a tad misleading though…

  • Honyant

    “If Brownlee really wanted to dig deeper, he’d point his fingers to those companies who mandate the installation of this software in the first place (carriers).”
    More likely U.S. securtity agencies.

  • Honyant

    I hate to be a spelling Nazi but I think that should be CIA. :-)

  • Jayman30usa

    It sends your text messages, logs keypress, call data, web data–even if its over SSL, and virtually everything else you do on the phone, sends it to an unknown third party company without user permission and it can’t be uninstalled–I for one will NOT “live with it”!

  • Tom Byrum

    1. This CIQ monitor doesn’t have any more visibility than Android itself does — does the OS know the content of your SMS? Youbetcha. Does the OS know the keystrokes you make? My screen is touchy, so not always, but it knows all the ones that the screen reads. Does Android log and transmit all that information? Maybe, I don’t know, I wouldn’t like it if it did, we know it is capable of that but we have no evidence that it does. Does CIQ log and transmit all that information? Maybe, I don’t know, I wouldn’t like it if it did, we know it is capable of that but we have no evidence that it does.

    2. HTTPS URLs are not encrypted and claiming that they should be shows a surprising lack of understanding about how HTTP-style requests work.

    3. Can someone point me to the part of the video where keystrokes on the softkeys are recorded? This would be the keylogging functionality that would allow passwords and usernames to be recorded. Usernames and passwords transmitted as a GET is already for websites that don’t believe in real security. I challenge you to point out one actual website that uses GET for authentication purposes.

    4. To point 1: What happens to this information? Nothing is being sent in the video — you should be able to log your WiFi connection with a packet sniffer and see this being transmitted, unless it’s only by 3G.

    Summary: Suspicious, but nothing truly terrible is being shown.

  • Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    Android is open FOR carriers to do what we are discussing!
    You:
    XBox is closed and nobody cares because it’s gaming, not general computing and communication.

    Me:

    Like iTunes?
    But really? Not not general computing and communication?
    What is communication for you?

    Google sells ads, Google cares about selling you ads, the rest is bonus.
    Now does google benefits ( indirectly ) with this?

    Google and Apple do biz, both companies care about profit, to be blind about that is stupid.

  • Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    Google knew that this could be done, but it just care not protecting its potential customers.
    Google hides under carriers skirt.
    This favours Google business indirectly.

    You:
    … Disingenuous presentation like the title of this piece is why people think Apple advocates in general are douchey fanboys.

    One way road!

    wow!
    Read the press ( Microsoft and Droid fanboys journalists ) whine rattle after any Apple product launch?

  • Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    People care about cheap FIRST.

  • Luke Olson

    put your suing hat on http://www.theverge.com/2011/1

  • Luke Olson

    dear Apple sauce you got it too http://www.theverge.com/2011/1

  • Luke Olson

    You pay so much, yet you are still in the same boat http://www.theverge.com/2011/1

  • Luke Olson

    yet you still have CIQ http://www.theverge.com/2011/1

  • JerJer
  • JerJer

    Are you serious. eat crow dude!  http://gizmodo.com/5864107/yes

  • Luke Olson

    Apple controls ios to the core, its using CIQ what does that say?

  • Luke Olson

    iOS has CIQ, get your suing hat ready….

  • Luke Olson

    Change “Except” to “also”

  • Luke Olson

    Your iPhone is still a probe

  • Luke Olson

    You pay ALOT and you still have a phone with CIQ on it

  • Luke Olson

    Apple also put CIQ on your devices

  • Luke Olson

    It also nice that Apple inculdes CIQ standard

  • RawBob

    “when it was discovered that iPhones were storing a cache of data on which GPS locations”

    Try again.

    Didn’t need to read any more. That’s why we call you “Perez Brownlee.”

  • Alfiejr

    sorry dude. iOS’ opt in Usage reporting does not log UI inputs.

  • CharliK

    What John wrote was 100% true. The iPhones were storing it. Perhaps he could have continued on to say that it was only readable if one had physical access to said phone or the computer containing its backups and some kind of software to find the appropriate file in said backup. But the iPhones were logging locations. 

    The catch is the ‘but not sending it anywhere’. Even when you have that whole ‘send diags to Apple’ turned on, there’s been no proof that they get anything that can actually ID you or contains personal data beyond location (which would be used to interpret crash logs to see if perhaps you were in an area with crappy ATT etc). Whereas it seems that these other guys are getting everything. Your ID, who you communicate with, how and what you say, where you are. Basically they are the cell phone version of that cheese ball tv show Person of Interest.

    And who knows what is happening to this data. Sure they might claim that no on sees it but can they prove that. Can they prove that you, nefarious staff member at this companies, can’t mass download a ton of this data and sell it. Probably not

  • CharliK

    Do you mean that the software has been found on the devices, sending info back to Apple if the user has allowed it. 

    or that they too are sending said info to a third party company. 

    Because the first is really not a huge deal, especially if the only time Apple sees it is if you said “Send diagnostic info to Apple automatically” = On. Or you go into an Apple store for a Genius Bar appointment. 

    If it is the second, then yeah ‘jokes on Jobs’

    I suspect however that the second is NOT the case. 

    Also what info is being sent. Crash logs and locations or everything you type into your phone including private text messages etc

  • CharliK

    I think you will find that folks aren’t so cheap that they will just brush off a company getting access to their private info even if just locations without their foreknowledge and permission. At least with Apple you can turn on and off the diagnostic reports, location services etc. Then the only way you can be found is the legally required GPS that requires a warrant for law enforcement to get the info from the carriers who are only supposed to find where your phone is right now, not keep a record of every place it has ever gone

  • CharliK

    But as I said to Korey, who gets the info and what exact info are they getting. 

    IF it is Apple and this is out they get crash logs etc with no personal info and you can turn it off by turning off that send diags, what’s the big deal. 

    This is apparently a third party getting personal info and it is on with no off switch. 

  • Luke Olson

    its still there, it can be turned on at any point, and you have no option to remove it

  • CharliK

    You keep saying that but you haven’t given any proof that this software exists on an iPhone, what information is it recording, how it is sent, to whom and whether the users can turn it off. 

    So how about it Luke. You are so sure Apple is just as guilty. So you must have the proof. Time to share, or shut up

  • CharliK

    that detail, if correct, is tiny compared to the fact that the software has been installed and what it might be doing. 

  • RawBob

    “What John wrote was 100% true. The iPhones were storing it.”

    The iPhones were not storing GPS locations.

    It’s  a good idea to get your facts straight before you correct someone.

    Spend a few minutes googling the subject before you “correct” me again.

    Perez Brownlee is a hack.  And Cult of Mac is nothing more than a link-bait business.

  • Luke Olson

    that is a lot of IF’s.  you still have a massive door which you dont have the keys for.  CIQ on Android can be removed.

  • Luke Olson
  • Luke Olson
  • Luke Olson
  • Luke Olson

    Since cult of mac won’t let me post links.  google chpwn blog ciq 

  • Luke Olson

    Since cult of mac won’t let me post links.  google chpwn blog ciq 

  • CharliK

    Yes the iPhones were and still are storing locations, GPS and otherwise. 

    Apple admitted this to representatives of the US Gov’t. But they also said (and no one has proven otherwise) that the information is only local. They also claimed that it was a flaw that it was storing up to a year when it was only supposed to be at most a couple of months worth. 

  • Jason Karuza

    http://www.bgr.com/2011/12/01/… Apparently it’s on iOS too, and appears to be somewhat carrier influenced.

  • RawBob

    OK, so you still (wrongly) believe that iPhones were/are storing “GPS” locations. 

    That’s fine.  At least you don’t refer to yourself as a “news editor.”

    On the off-chance that you’d ever consider that you could ever be wrong about something, you might navigate to:

    http://petewarden.github.com/i

    and search for GPS.

  • RawBob

    OK, so you still (wrongly) believe that iPhones were/are storing “GPS” locations.

    That’s fine. At least you don’t refer to yourself as a “news editor.”

    On the off-chance that you’d ever consider that you could ever be wrong about something, you might navigate to:

    http://petewarden.github.com/i

    and search for GPS.

  • RawBob

    @lucascott:disqus

    OK, so you still (wrongly) believe that iPhones were/are storing “GPS” locations. 

    That’s fine.  At least you don’t refer to yourself as a “news editor.”

    On the off-chance that you’d ever consider that you could ever be wrong about something, you might navigate to:

    http://petewarden.github.com/i

    and search for GPS.

  • Luke Olson

    look up pen registers, law enforcement doesn’t need a warrent for location.

  • BW Manx

    The purest of the pure android phones, the Nexus series, DO NOT have CIQ installed and it’s not baked into the OS either.  This is not a Google thing or an Android thing…it’s a carrier thing.

  • BW Manx

    Does anyone know if CIQ is baked into IOS on Verizon iPhones or was it only baked into AT&T and Sprint iPhones?

  • CharliK

    another restricted item that can’t be legally used to private companies for any old reason and have to have a court order to be used by law enforcement. 

  • Hynek Los

    CIQ was found also on IOS  from apple . here is , howto check/remove…
    http://www.extremetech.com/com… 

  • Daniel McGinness

    Read the story! Only android does it.

  • Daniel McGinness

    Googled it and read several item about it. Nowhere near as much data is gleened as on the android side

  • Daniel McGinness

    If your such a proponent of Android why are you even on a mac site? Troll much?

  • jaswanth koppu

    Apple rocks again..Android sucks again…ha ha

  • JHughesy

    This is also on iOS. Apple sucks, Android sucks….

    Job was right but he conveniently forgot to mention that iOS was logging too. Great marketers never tell the whole truth…

  • the chenry

    Nope. http://arst.ch/rqr CarrierIQ is on iPhone as well.

  • J-Stin

    It’s not just android.. It comes installed on some Blackberry and Symbian phones as well.

  • William Cheung

    That’s not what Apple was doing. It’s not an invasion of privacy on the iPhone as you have to opt in, even on pre-iOS 5 devices, and the data doesn’t identify you specifically.Apple’s implementation does not at all collect passwords, usernames, message content, etc. on Apple devices.

  • William Cheung

    That’s not what Apple was doing. It’s not an invasion of privacy on the iPhone as you have to opt in, even on pre-iOS 5 devices, and the data doesn’t identify you specifically.Apple’s implementation does not at all collect passwords, usernames, message content, etc. on Apple devices.

  • Ian Smith

    The carriers were already reading all your SMS messages without carrier IQ.

  • lord maximus

    NO THAT is where you’re wrong. ANY SMART android user has a rooted android and uses 3rd party rom (like cyanogenmod). You should be n xda developers asking which rom doesn’t have carrier IQ in them. IPHONES on the other hand HAVE NO CHOICE and use default rom. an iphone is about no choice, android is about choice. sucks for those who didnt buy an android to put 3rd party rom in first place.

  • lord maximus

    DONT FORGET ANY SMART ANDROID USES 3RD PARTY ROM FROM XDA DEVELOPERS ANYWAY, and hopefully one without carrier IQ (ask the developer of the rom) while IPHONE users can’t do this AT ALL and are locked to 1 choice (androids are about choice, thus many phones, and apple is about 1 choice thus 1 phone, laptop, etc)

  • Liquidmark

    CarrierIQ on iOS doesn’t gather anywhere near the same ammount of data as this. It is also OPT IN. 

  • jpshayes

    @charliesheenhardcore “This is why open source fails”. Wrong, opensource fails when for-profit companies tinker with it.

  • orionsune

    Carriers have been doing using methods for decades, why act so surprised now? Because we transmit more data over our mobile devices today than we did 10 years ago or because your God, Lord and Creator Steve Jobs said so?

  • orionsune

    Wonder if anything will come of this…

    8 months later and that answer would be a NOPE.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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