What Is Carrier IQ?

When you use your mobile phone you have a reasonable expectation that you are in control for at least most of the experience. You know that you do not have control of the actual signal or the actions that happen at your provider but for the most part you feel as if you are in control. But in reality, there is a lot going on behind the scenes that you do not know about. And some of this stuff is actually quite scary if you really take a look at it.

Just recently, there was a discovery made by some computer security researchers online that most mobile phones in the United States have a special type of software installed in the phone called Carrier IQ. This software is used to monitor your phones activities and then report back to the mothership, aka the phone provider.

What Is Carrier IQ?

Carriers and other companies as well like to have as much information about their customers as possible. Even, what may seem like to you very small details of your personal life, is a very big deal over at certain corporations. It is this information that they take in order to find better ways to market to you. If you do not have any information about your customer base then you are pretty much shooting blind. It can take years before you are able to hit the target. With the ability to gather information about your target, you are more easily able to market to them products that they might want. While this action may have a good result, a lot of people still feel that this action is violating their privacy.

The Carrier IQ software is hidden inside of the phone like a rootkit would be. As the user of the phone you are not able to take out the software on your own. Until the computer security researchers took a look most people did not even know that it was there. That is the way that most malware works. They do not want to be detected. They want to lie in the system and gather as much information as possible. This Carrier IQ code does pretty much the same thing. That is why there is so much outrage about the software.

So now that the existence of the Carrier IQ software is now well known, we will see if it affects public sentiment one way or the other.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. […] and even some of the Windows phones on the market. There has recently been some revelations about Carrier IQ and this revelation has some people in an uproar (though it now seems things may not be as sinister […]

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