Carrier IQ's own marketing claims undercut its defense
Company's marketing info suggests tools can do more than diagnose operational issues
Computerworld - An increasingly besieged Carrier IQ (CIQ) yesterday insisted that its software is designed only to help wireless carriers diagnose operational problems on networks and mobile devices. But its own marketing material for one of the products raises doubts about that claim.
The IQ Insight Experience Manager is one in a suite of five similar products sold by CIQ. An online datasheet describes it as customer experience profiling software that gives carriers detailed views of how consumers interact with their phones at "any level of granularity from the entire population, to comparative groups, down to individual users, all at the touch of a button."
The datasheet explains how the software can give carriers a "precise view" of customer interaction -- even when the phone is not communicating with the network.
Users of Carrier IQ's Insight Experience Manager can capture a "vast array" of data including screen transitions, button presses and service interactions, according to the material. Carriers can "task" phones dynamically over the air to optimize data selection. That data can be updated in real-time and aggregated in the company's Mobile Service Intelligence Platform.
In the datasheet, CIQ describes Insight Experience Manager as revenue-boosting technology that carriers can use to "view application and device feature usage, such as camera, music, messaging, browser and TV." It also describes how the product can help carriers identify how users respond to mobile advertising.
That description appears to be at odds with the company's depictions of its products after security researcher Trevor Eckhart published a report disclosing how Carrier IQ's software could be used by carriers and device makers to conduct surreptitious and highly intrusive tracking of Android and other smartphone users.
Eckhart described the software as a hard-to-detect -- and equally hard-to-remove -- rootkit that could be used by carriers and phone makers to collect almost any kind of data from a mobile phone without the user's knowledge. Eckhart said his research showed that Carrier IQ's software was often enabled to run by default on several mobile devices, including those from Samsung, HTC, RIM and others.
After his report was published, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile confirmed their use of the software but insisted it was only to improve wireless network and device performance.
On Thursday, Carrier IQ released an updated version of a statement it had made earlier. That statement described CIQ software as something that can be used to "measure and summarize" device performance to help carriers deliver better service.
- Lawmaker pushes consumer notification bill in wake of Carrier IQ concerns
- Goodbye 2011 ... What a year!
- Sprint disables Carrier IQ software on its handsets
- Iran tricked U.S. spy drone into landing in country, report says
- FBI never sought Carrier IQ data, director says
- Carrier IQ moves to allay fears of its tracking software
- FBI rejects FOIA request for Carrier IQ info
- Google's Schmidt calls Carrier IQ software a keylogger
- Carrier IQ downplays 2010 patent request
- 8 companies hit with lawsuit over Carrier IQ software
- Mobile First: Securing Information Sprawl Learn how the partnership between Box and MobileIron can help you execute a "mobile first" strategy that manages and secures both mobile apps...
- Cybersecurity Imperatives: Reinvent your Network Security The Rise of CyberSecurity
- Surescripts Case Study- Securing Keys and Certificates Surescripts implemented Venafi's Trust Protection Platform™ to secure digital keys and certificates, ensure the privacy and confidentiality of electronic clinical information for its...
- Ponemon 2014 SSH Security Vulnerability Report According to research by the Ponemon Institute, 3 out of 4 enterprises have no security controls in place for SSH which leaves organizations...
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities.
- Deep Dive into Advanced Networking and Security with Hybrid Cloud Security and networking are among the top concerns when moving workloads to the cloud. VMware vCloud® Hybrid Service™ enables you to extend your... All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!