Last month, XDA member Trevor Eckhart found a program on Android smartphones called Carrier IQ. Mr. Eckhart discovered that the software was loaded at the kernel level of Android and initially found that phones from HTC and Samsung had/have the software preloaded on them. He then went on the prove his discovery in a YouTube video showing Sprint’s HTC EVO 3D logging data via the preinstalled software.
Following the public discovery of Carrier IQ on various smartphones, Sprint has reportedly told hardware manufactures to have the software removed from their respective devices.
Wireless providers with traces of Carrier IQ found on their devices have been trying their best to stray away from the matter. Sprint has given their reason for using Carrier IQ saying, “We also use the data to understand device performance so we can figure out when issues are occurring…” Furthermore, carriers claim that the software should not be considered a privacy concern since the information does not go anywhere outside the carrier. Sprint has specifically stated that, “…We collect enough information to understand the customer experience with devices on our network and how to address any connection problems, but we do not and cannot look at the contents of messages, photos, videos, etc., using this tool. The information collected is not sold and we don’t provide a direct feed of this data to anyone outside of Sprint.”
Yesterday’s report from Geek.com claims that “as a result of the lawsuits targeting Carrier IQ, Sprint, and other C[arrier]IQ-using OEMs, Sprint has asked all of their partners to get rid of Carrier IQ.” This specific bit of information has been said to come from “sources at HTC”. The removal of Carrier IQ will commence with high-profile devices such as the HTC EVO 4G, EVO 3G, EVO Shift 4G, Samsung Galaxy phones and other flagship devices amongst Sprint’s plethora of smartphone offerings. After the flagship devices have the tracking software removed, Sprint plans to rid Carrier IQ from the rest of its smartphones.
According to Geek.com’s HTC source, the removal will start as soon as possible, with urgency. As a matter of fact, a Samsung crafted firmware update has been leaked to XDA sans Carrier IQ.
How do you feel about Sprint’s decision to scrap Carrier IQ? Is this enough to calm your nerves, or is it a classic example of “too little, too late”?