December 13, 2011, 11:21 AM — Carrier IQ – the fabulously successful mobile spyware maker that continues to deny it makes spyware – put out a report yesterday defending itself yet again by explaining none of the charges anyone has leveled at it are true. Largely true, essentially true, potentially true, but not actually true.
Carrier IQ simply developed a utility that monitors, in real time, the health, connection quality and performance of smartphones whose prime data contracts are so expensive customers will put up with no rational restrictions, bugs or interruptions in service.
Carriers need the kind of system- and network-level performance data Carrier IQ provides simply to keep customers from rebelling and shifting en masse to another carrier whose service is equally bad, even more expensive and which has even less respect for their privacy or pocketbooks than the last carrier.
Which is true. Largely.
Carrier IQ makes a piece of software the carriers use for the purposes Carrier IQ says they do. It serves a clear need for carriers who are constantly bombarded by complaints from smartphone users that they get no service from XYZ location, but great service from 10 feet away from location XYZ and they want an explanation or a new cell tower installed immediately.
(Which, btw, is also completely fair, and completely irrelevant. Carriers complain that user expectations are inflated and unrealistic and that their customer service reputations suffer for that. The truth is that customer expectations are set by marketing and advertising from the carriers, who talk a lot about the completeness of their coverage and quality of their service, but rarely mention dead spots, interference, frequency saturation, bandwidth bottlenecks or the likelihood of customer error in using devices that allow little room for error but function in chaotic and unfriendly netoworking environments.