Smart Phones Spy on Their Owners

By Julia Norton and Jena Lacock –

Cell phones are devices that people trust with their private information. They feel comfortable sending personal text messages to their friends and do not seem to fear the possibility of someone else having access to those messages.

However, there is a hidden application hidden on millions of smart phones around the world. This application is called Carrier IQ.

Smart phones, such as the iPhone and Blackberry, contain software that records what users do, called Carrier IQ (photo courtesy of: news.cnet.com).

Carrier IQ can log practically everything you do on your cell phone including text messages, websites visited, places you go, key strokes and much more. It is software that is completely hidden in your phone with no warning of its existence.

Most people had no idea their phone had been recording this information all along and many of them are shocked to say the least.

“I feel violated,” said Penn Manor senior Alex Lombardo. “Everyone lies and cheats, so I don’t trust Carrier IQ.”

Although this software might sound like a bad idea, companies are using this information in order to discover why calls are dropped and any problems the particular phone might be having with its performance. While they have access to cell phone users’ personal information, they claim to only use this to improve the phones.

Knowing this, people are still not okay with being spied on.

“I think it is good that Carrier IQ can help with network problems, but I do not like how it can collect my information,” said Eliza Smith, Penn Manor junior. “The whole thing makes me scared and nervous. I am not very familiar with security laws, but there should definitely be something against that.”

Penn Manor junior, Natasha Polaski thinks this software could be used to solve more than connection problems.

“They could use that information for police reports,” she said. Even though she sees valid uses for it, she is still not totally comfortable with it. “It makes me feel like I do not have any privacy.”

iPhone users may not have as much to worry about as other smart phone users.

Grant Paul, a security researcher, wrote on his blog, “[Up] through and including iOS 5, Apple has included a copy of Carrier IQ on the iPhone.”

The device is controlled by the diagnostics and usage setting on these phones. It appears that it is possible to turn Carrier IQ off through those settings.

Grant Paul also wrote that he is almost positive this software does not have any access to text messages or browsing history on iPhones. With such a high number of smart phone owners having iPhones, this may put many peoples’ minds at ease.

Carrier IQ is a hidden application that has been invented to fix multiple issues such as connection issues and software glitches. Even though this software only exists to improve the usage of cell phones all over the world, most people are uncomfortable with the idea of it.

Comments

  1. Online identity. I read 1984. Thought crimes can soon a reality. I just have to ask is everybody that insecure. Eventually technology will overload and we will return to Zero!