Looks like Australians are safe when it comes to the possibility of someone watching their activity on mobile phones, with the telcos and manufacturers speaking up about their involvement with the Carrier IQ software.
Previously reported yesterday, it was found that some mobile devices included a piece of software that could be modified to track private information, such as phone numbers dialled, text messages, and even what websites you visit. The software – Carrier IQ – would sit underneath everything, unable for you to turn it off or opt out.
HTC yesterday had this to say:
“Carrier IQ is a device requirement of a number of U.S carriers, so we encourage consumers or media to contact Carrier IQ or their respective carriers with any questions about the practices relating to, or data collected by, Carrier IQ. HTC is not a customer or partner of Carrier IQ and does not receive data from the company, its application or carriers who partner with CarrierIQ. HTC is investigating the option to allow consumers to opt-out of the application.”
After reading that Carrier IQ was a requirement of some carriers, we immediately asked other manufacturers and carriers what they had to say on the matter, as did other websites around the world.
“We stopped supporting Carrier IQ 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.”
“We do not have an affiliation with CarrierIQ. Android is an open source effort and we do not control how carriers or OEMs customise their devices.”
Australian telcos were much the same, with the companies coming out and saying they don’t use it.
Telstra’s media spokesman Craig Middleton said on Twitter:
“Telstra does not use it. We only use customer data for connecting calls and billing for services.”
Vodafone’s Twitter page also reported something similar, with responses to questions about Carrier IQ met with:
“We do not use this technology on our customer networks in Aus or else. The protection of our customers’ privacy is paramount.”
Likewise, an Optus spokesperson said to use that:
“Optus does not use Carrier IQ in its network.”
So it looks like Aussie mobiles are safe for the moment. You can now take off that tin-foil hat, stop looking over your shoulder, and continue speaking into your mobile phone the way you were before yesterday.