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Apple loads Carrier IQ's trackerware onto IOS devices

But refrains from keylogging
Thu Dec 01 2011, 13:49

FLOGGER OF SHINY TOYS Apple has been fingered for loading Carrier IQ's tracking software on Iphones through IOS.

Last week Carrier IQ, a mobile analytics firm, was at the centre of a privacy storm as a security researcher claimed that many smartphones run its tracking and debugging software. Initially Google's Android was identified but now it seems that Apple has been including Carrier IQ's software in several versions of IOS, including the latest IOS 5.

Although Apple ships Carrier IQ's software, the researchers claim it is relatively easy to turn off from the Settings menu in IOS. However it is interesting to see that Apple has engineered the software to run from a number of different daemons.

Carrier IQ said its software does not log keystrokes, though that has been called into question after researchers claimed to have proof that the firm's software can log keystrokes and does so in some installations. In the case of Apple's IOS, the version of Carrier IQ's software doesn't seem to log keystrokes, but it still can send back information on the device's phone number, mobile operator and location.

While Carrier IQ is facing most of the criticism for its software, the truth is that device makers and mobile operators are the ones that load the software onto devices. At some point the device makers and operators asked Carrier IQ for this functionality, and they went even further by not disclosing the information being collected to users.

Surprisingly, it seems that Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system is the only mainstream mobile operating system not to have Carrier IQ's software pre-loaded. For Android smartphone users who are looking to ditch Carrier IQ's stealth trackerware, custom distributions such as Cyanogenmod apparently are the way to go. µ

 

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