Less than one day after it emerged that the suspicious piece of logging software CarrierIQ has been discovered on many cell phones, mobile operators and manufacturers are already taking action to reassure their customers.
Indeed, Apple just announced that it stopped supporting Carrier IQ. Here’s the company’s full answer according to AllThingsD:
We stopped supporting CarrierIQ with iOS 5 in most of our products and will remove it completely in a future software update. With any diagnostic data sent to Apple, customers must actively opt-in to share this information, and if they do, the data is sent in an anonymous and encrypted form and does not include any personal information. We never recorded keystrokes, messages or any other personal information for diagnostic data and have no plans to ever do so.
As we reported yesterday, CarrierIQ is a secret data logging app that could log keystrokes. When the software developer Trevor Eckhart discovered it on Android, Blackberry and Nokia phones and posted a video about his findings, this immediately raised serious privacy concerns and huge criticism. The iPhone jailbreak developer Grant Paul then confirmed he had found references to CarrierIQ in iOS, and the debacle became industry-wide, explaining Apple’s prompt reaction today.
However, Apple isn’t the only company which acknowledged the presence of Carrier IQ on a portion of its handsets: so did AT&T and Sprint.
Quoted by Reuters, Carrier IQ’s spokesman also denies that the software’s purpose is to spy on users. “While we look at many aspects of a device’s performance, we are counting and summarizing performance, not recording keystrokes, or providing tracking tools,” he said.
Still, Apple’s decision leans the future of Carrier IQ seems fairly compromised, as it makes it much more difficult for carriers to ask manufacturers to include it on their devices.