Hidden Mobile Phone and Tablet Tracking Built In

Android app developer Trevor Eckhart discovered that hidden in his Android phone was tracking software by Carrier IQ, which he feels exhibits the traits of a rootkit. So what does it track? How about key presses, geographic locations, and messages received by its users.

On Monday, Trevor posted the following video to YouTube, exposing what the Carrier IQ software monitored on his stock HTC EVO handset:

Amazingly enough, the users are never informed of this app, nor are they given the ability to toggle whether the monitoring service should run. Instead they are forced to trust Carrier IQ, and Carrier IQ’s customers, for the privacy of any data collected.

Performing damage control, Carrier IQ has posted a Media Alert, clarifying how their software is used by customers. I find the following snippet interesting:

While we look at many aspects of a device’s performance, we are counting and summarizing performance, not recording keystrokes or providing tracking tools. The metrics and tools we derive are not designed to deliver such information, nor do we have any intention of developing such tools.

The video clearly shows the monitoring software is capable of recording keystrokes. What’s more concerning is how the software can see variables passed via an encrypted website as if they were never encrypted.

If you think that avoiding Android powered devices will exempt you from this privacy invasion, think again. In addition to Android, Carrier IQ also has software available and installed on BlackBerry, Apple iOS and Nokia devices.

Update: It has been determined that iOS devices also contain Carrier IQ.

[Via The Register]