Unless you’ve been disconnected from the internet for the past month, you’ve probably heard of Carrier IQ, the software that carriers use to track usage and diagnose issues on smartphones. Carrier IQ is currently in the hot seat due to privacy concerns drawing several class-action lawsuits and even a US Senator probing questions about the software.
There are currently some detector apps you can use to find out if Carrier IQ is installed on your phone. Since the software is hidden, it’s invisible during normal usage. These detector apps may not be 100% reliable, as several owners of the following devices reported negative results.
- HTC Amaze 4G
- Samsung Galaxy S II
- Samsung Exhibit II 4G
- T-Mobile myTouch by LG
- T-Mobile myTouch Q by LG
- LG DoublePlay
In addition to listing the phones that have Carrier IQ installed, the screenshot above also details the ways that T-Mobile uses Carrier IQ.
- Battery performance: If a customer’s device battery appears not to be holding a charge, T-Mobile can determine if the issue is the battery, charger or device
- Dropped calls: If a customer attempts to make a call and the call fails, T-Mobile can determine whether the cause was the handset or the network
- Application failures: If a customer uses an application, preinstalled or downloaded from a third-party marketplace, and the app fails, T-Mobile will be able to troubleshoot that app failure, which may be perceived by the customer to be the device freezing/crashing
Unfortunately, there’s no opting out via T-Mobile, since once you sign that contract they essentially own you. Getting rid of Carrier IQ isn’t an easy task outside of rooting your phone and installing a clean ROM such as CyanogenMod. But if you’re not comfortable with being tracked or hacking your phone, at least you know which devices to avoid.