The public service department here at HIPRB directs your attention to this story about the man who discovered software on Blackberrys, Nokias and Android-powered smartphones (but not iPhones) that he claims is logging nearly everything you do on your phone, and sending off a report. The maker of the software, Carrier IQ, denies anything nefarious, says it is just diagnostic software to help its customers “deliver high quality products and services,” and at least one security consultant agrees.
I haven’t thrown my lot in with those who see conspiracies in everything (and you know who you are), and I’m not so naive that I don’t think that there are people already getting unauthorized access to one or another of the digital footprints each of us leaves as we go about our business. But that doesn’t mean that when presented a credible argument that our privacy is being violated we should just shrug our shoulders and hope for the best. Tim Worstall at Forbes makes the point:
But to be honest I think the part that worries me the most is, well, how hard is it to hack into this? To access that information if you’re not in fact the network? If it is possible to access this information (and I’d be absolutely astonished if it were not) then this means that absolutely every smartphone running it is vulnerable, to put it mildly, to data theft.
For yes, if you online bank from your phone then the application will be logging that data, pins, ID codes and all.
That’s really not something you want, is it? An application sitting on your phone that records all of these things specifically and exactly so as to broadcast them to someone else?
Here’s the link to Trevor Eckhart’s YouTube video showing what he found and how it works. Then think for yourself.
UPDATE Dec. 1: But wait, there’s more: Al Franken demands answers, and it’s learned that the suspect software is on more phones than was first believed–including iPhones, so stop gloating, Appleheads.
Photo from VintagePhone.com