The Carrier IQ debate has taken over the internet
in the last 24 hours. For those of you that might not know what Carrier IQ is, the definition is pretty basic. In short, Carrier IQ is a third-party software that's installed a device to monitor and keep track of everything a user does on said device. Both manufacturers and carriers love to know what you, as the user, use your device for to more accurately target advertising, promotions; etc. The legality issue comes into question though when something is planted in our devices without our knowledge and/or consent. Since the Carrier IQ software is not integrated to the native OS of any major phone manufacturer, it's up to each individual carrier or manufacturer to install it independently.
According to reports, around 140 million handsets have Carrier IQ installed. As you can imagine, carriers and manufacturers alike are all releasing statements either denying or attempting to rid themselves of any guilt associated with their devices having Carrier IQ installed. RIM is on the record as stating they have never asked for Carrier IQ to be installed on any BlackBerry device nor have they authorized any carrier to do so. A BlackBerry may have Carrier IQ installed if the user or administrator a of a BES chooses to do so though.
Research In Motion has released the following statement in regards to these reports:
RIM is aware of a recent claim by a security researcher that an application called "CarrierIQ" is installed on mobile devices from multiple vendors without the knowledge or consent of device users. RIM will continue to investigate reports and speculation related to CarrierIQ.
RIM can attest that it does not pre-install the CarrierIQ application on BlackBerry smartphones and has never done so. Furthermore, RIM does not authorize its carrier partners to install the CarrierIQ application on BlackBerry smartphones before sales or distribution and has never done so. RIM also did not develop or commission the development of the CarrierIQ application, nor is RIM involved in any way in the testing, promotion, or distribution of the CarrierIQ application.
If the CarrierIQ application is present on a BlackBerry smartphone, it does not mean that the CarrierIQ application has "hacked" the BlackBerry platform. It means that either the BlackBerry smartphone user or the user's BlackBerry Enterprise Server admin explicitly installed the application and authorized it to run. The user or the user's BlackBerry Enterprise Server admin has full control over which third-party software he or she installs on a BlackBerry smartphone. The BlackBerry smartphone is designed to prompt the user for consent to grant permissions to a third-party application.
All users (of any device from any manufacturer) should always avoid installing and granting permissions to applications from untrusted sources. This simple precaution mitigates the risk of malware or unwanted software being installed on a user's mobile device.
For information on BlackBerry security, visit www.blackberry.com/security.
BlackBerry Development Advisor
- How worried are you about Carrier IQ being installed on your device?