The media storm over Carrier IQ’s implicit privacy and security violations continues. Yesterday we contacted Verizon Wireless about the intrusive logging software, and a representative told Android Community that the company does not use Carrier IQ software in any of its products. Canadian carrier Rogers joins them today, also stating that Carrier IQ is not present on any of its devices. A company spokesperson confirmed on Twitter that none of the phones or tablets in their lineup use the software.
Over in the UK, things are a little more nuanced. After being accused of using Carrier IQ’s software, both Vodafone and O2 have issued partial denials, saying that they do not collect user information. Carrier IQ has been spotted on devices for both providers. O2 claims that any data collected is handled by device manufacturers, a statement that seems very much at odds with the research of independent Android security analysis Trevor Eckhart. A Google spokesperson stated that none of the phones in the Nexus line – the Nexus One, Nexus S, Nexus S 4G and the upcoming Galaxy Nexus – use the software.
Android Community has contacted all of the major carriers in the United States for clarification on the Carrier IQ situation. So far, only Verizon has responded – there’s no official word from AT&T, T-Mobile or any other U.S. carrier on the presence, or lack thereof, of Carrier IQ logging. Android enthusiasts are understandably upset at the lack of transparency, and they’re now joined by iPhone users who discovered pieces of Carrier IQ code in all current models.
It’s important to note that statements from Verizon, Rogers, Vodafone and O2 are so far unconfirmed by impartial parties. In the case of Vodafone and O2, it’s basically impossible to know what’s done with captured information once it’s sent out from a phone or tablet. Considering that it may include keystrokes, web history, call history, app use and location data, it represents a potentially huge privacy violation. I remind our readers that this information isn’t necessarily being collected maliciously – Carrier IQ’s software is designed to allow carriers to improve their network performance based on a wide array of metrics. That said, the collection and possible retention of such private data, without notification, is still an unacceptable breach of privacy and security.
We await responses from the other U.S. wireless providers, and will report any news if they choose to respond.