Controversy erupts over smartphone user tracking

By Don Reisinger

Carrier IQ, a company that provides tracking tools for carriers and phone vendors, has come under fire as of late for monitoring Android-based devices. And now, the company’s software has been found on the iPhone.

Carrier IQ’s software is running on every iOS version dating back to iOS 3, well-known iPhone hacker “Chpwn” said yesterday in a blog post. Chpwn dug through the iPhone’s operating system for any sign of Carrier IQ, and found it deeply embedded in the operating system’s “/usr/bin/” directory.

Yesterday, CNET reported on Carrier IQ’s deep integration in Android. According to Android researcher Trevor Eckhart, one of the more outspoken critics of the company’s technology, Carrier IQ software running on Android devices can phone home all kinds of information, including keystrokes, SMS messages in plain text, and even browsing history. What’s worse, Eckhart says that removing the software is nearly impossible.

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