Techno-Logic: What Is Carrier IQ?

By 8-Bit Jay
Special to the Parade

Techno-LogicOver the last week, news broke that carriers and manufacturers were stocking their mobile phones with software called Carrier IQ. Carrier IQ, for those who don’t know, is a piece of software designed to collect data from users. Information such as browsing data, key presses and more are said to have been collected, and this has caused concern for many users.

The idea, according to carriers and Carrier IQ, is that this helps improve phone service. That can be true. For instance, if they notice a lot of people are experiencing dropped calls in a particular area, they can work on improving signal. Sounds noble enough. However, it becomes a problem when some of these manufacturers don’t clearly inform customers that this is happening. Whether it’s hidden deep within the end user agreement may be a different story, but for the average user it’s never immediately apparent. What’s more, some handsets don’t allow users to disable this function. Many of HTC’s phones were said to be built like this. Samsung, on the other hand, was said to have an option for turning off Carrier IQ. The iPhone also has such a function, and Apple confirmed soon after that they were going to remove the software altogether in a future iOS update. Still, they had it going on through previous versions of iOS.

What’s concerning for many may not be the fact that their data is collected. It may be more about the carriers and manufacturers not informing them of the matter. It’s caused quite a wave of anger amongst consumers, and has already sparked a class-action lawsuit against a handful of carriers and cellphone makers.

Right now, it’s not entirely clear who all gets our data. It’s highly doubtful that it’s public, but whether this information is sold to outside parties or kept within the carrier’s database isn’t something we know the answer to yet.

You may have to look up instructions for how to disable this on your particular handset. I have the iPhone instructions below:

1) Tap the “Settings” icon.

2) Go to “General”

3) Go to “About”

4) Then to “Diagnostics and Usage”

5) From there, you will tap on “Don’t Send,” this means that your data won’t be sent out.

It’s also been said that Windows Phone handsets and RIM’s BlackBerry handsets don’t do this sort of thing. I can’t confirm that for myself, but it’s worth knowing if you have any of those phones.

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