Verizon: “We Do Not Install Carrier IQ On Our Phones”

  • December 1, 2011 7:58 am

The ongoing drama revolving around the deeply invasive Carrier IQ mobile tracking software has another twist. Late yesterday VZW spokesperson tweeted (@VZWJeffrey) that Verizon Wireless does not use/install Carrier IQ software on any of their devices.

But is Verizon lying? Contrasting Verizon’s claim is this post by chpwn which shows strings for VZW (codenamed “Zepplin) plus mentions of AT&T and Sprint. Now, whether VZW activated it or not is uncertain (and again, up to them). Is Verizon lying and they are musing Carrier IQ? Is this technically not on Verizon’s shoulders and instead on Apple’s seeing as these are strings for iOS, and Apple is the only entity which can install such an application on the iPhone? The questions are growing with each passing day and unfortunately few answers are coming back in return.

If Verizon is telling the truth, the full force of our worries/anger should be placed directly on carriers’ shoulders as it is their decision to make use of the Carrier IQ software. And on that note, carriers should absolutely be actively telling customers that a software as deep and invasive as Carrier IQ is installed — it passes encrypted, secure information as plain text!

For now, iOS users may have a small saving grace. It appears that simply disabling diagnostics tracking and reporting in Settings.app on iOS 5 is enough to render Carrier IQ null & void — a sign that it’s not nearly as potent on iOS as we’ve seen on Android. Speaking of which, the information that iOS does send back to Apple is as follows (chpwn, via):

CoreTelephony
your phone number
your carrier
your country
active phone calls - (However, I only saw it noting that a phone call was active, not what number was dialed or it was received from. But, I am not going to claim it doesn’t do that: it’s certainly possible, but didn’t see it.)
CoreLocation
your location -(Only, however, if Location Services are enabled.)
(Possibly more I haven’t yet found.)

We’ve reached out to a couple of our VZW people to get more info on their non-use (and any potential future use) of Carrier IQ. Stay tuned…

  • Source: @VZWJeffery

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