Carrier IQ: What it is, what it isn’t, and what you need to know
Carrier IQ has recently found itself swimming in controversy. The analytics company and its eponymous software have come under fire from security researchers, privacy advocates and legal critics not only for the data it gathers, but also for its lack of transparency regarding the use of said information. Carrier IQ claims its software is installed on over 140 million devices with partners including Sprint, HTC and allegedly, Apple and Samsung. Nokia, RIM and Verizon Wireless have been alleged as partners, too, although each company denies such claims. Ostensibly, the software’s meant to improve the customer experience, though in nearly every case, Carrier IQ users are unaware of the software’s existence, as it runs hidden in the background and doesn’t require authorized consent to function. From a permissions standpoint — with respect to Android — the software is capable of logging user keystrokes, recording telephone calls, storing text messages, tracking location and more. It is often difficult or impossible to disable.
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Poll: Will Carrier IQ influence your next handset purchase?
Although the story is still developing, it’s clear that some phones on certain carriers have app called Carrier IQ pre-installed. The software has been demonstrated to capture nearly every action you take on a smartphone and view textual data, such as SMS messages and web searches. How much of that data is being sent to carriers and handset makers is still an open question, but clearly, there’s the potential for a total disregard of consumer privacy.
What on Earth Happened to BlackBerry?
Research in Motion’s new tablet is a misguided mess.
By Farhad Manjoo|Posted Friday, April 15, 2011, at 5:22 PM ET
First, a confession: I haven’t used the BlackBerry PlayBook yet. The seven-inch tablet computer is scheduled to go on sale next week, and I hope to get my hands on one soon. This, then, is not a product review. It’s more like a eulogy, or perhaps an autopsy, for a company circling the drain. Reviewers who have gotten early access to the PlayBook have been almost universally puzzled by how half-baked it is. In its current form, the PlayBook doesn’t include any apps to access your email, calendar and address book. To get those things, you’ve got to have a BlackBerry phone, too. The PlayBook pairs with the phone, and gives you access to the phone’s e-mail, calendar, and address book. Does this sound insane? It is. The PlayBook doesn’t have many other apps, either. And even a few days before launch, the company is still making frequent, major updates to the tablet’s software.