December 17, 2011, 7:47 AM — Mobile device and network diagnostic firm Carrier IQ early Tuesday issued a detailed report about what it is up to with your smartphone data. The company has been under fire ever since Trevor Eckhart discovered CIQ software working behind the scenes on a variety of smartphones. Eckhart originally accused CIQ of installing malware on people's phones and monitoring users' key presses, SMS messages, location data and web browsing history.
Even Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt recently referred to CIQ software as a keylogger. A keylogger is a type of malware that records your key presses in an attempt to discover sensitive information such as passwords.
While CIQ admits that it does collect some of the data detailed by Eckhart, the company says its software is not used for malicious purposes and is not a keylogger. Instead, any data collected by CIQ software is used to improve user experience and cellular network performance. Nevertheless, CIQ said it recently worked with Eckhart to identify some areas of concern with the company's software.
What Is Carrier IQ?
Carrier IQ is a mobile diagnostic company that uses software installed on more than 150 million mobile devices worldwide. CIQ software installed on mobile devices is called the IQ Agent and collects diagnostic information about your device such as battery performance, device stability, network coverage, voice call performance, and connectivity issues. CIQ says that while its software can collect a wide variety of information, it is up to the carriers to determine what kind of data is collected on any given device.
Here's a look at some of the highlights from CIQ's report (PDF).
It turns out the IQ Agent has been logging some users' SMS messages in limited circumstances such as when you receive an SMS during a call or data session. The company blames this problem on a bug since CIQ software isn't supposed to capture content from personal communications. Captured SMS messages were never in a human readable format, according to the company. CIQ also said the SMS bug did not cause the company's software to record web or app content, MMS, email, photos, voice calls, or video.
Collects Phone Numbers, URLs