If you are like us, every day you pick up a smartphone and you send email, visit with friends on Facebook, send a text message or even log into your bank’s website and pay a bill. These modern-day conveniences have become routine.
We all believe that our passwords are secure, our data protected, and life is easier if we don’t have to write a check to pay a bill or dig around and find a stamp to send a friend a quick note.
But this morning we are no longer sure. The tech world is in a fury, which we believe will soon break out into society at large, about a little-known software program called Carrier IQ. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, a 25-year-old programmer by the name of Trevor Eckhart posted a video on YouTube that graphically displays how our naïve beliefs of privacy are just plain wrong.
The video – which lasts 17 minutes and starts slowly because he methodically goes through the privacy statements on his cell phone – is frightening. If you watch it, you will never look at your smartphone the same again. We have posted the video at Floydreports.com if you want to watch.
The program, Carrier IQ cannot be turned off. But it tracks your every move. Dial a friend’s phone, it sends the number off to someone. Send or receive a text message, and the message is recorded and sent off. Call up your bank or another website in the allegedly safe https: mode, which we have been told is secure, and Carrier IQ is there recording your username, password and any other move you make on your phone.
Rather than calling them smartphones we should be calling them people monitors. The only action you take that it cannot record is a thought in your head you refuse to express. These phones are even capable of recording what you say. Scary is not the word for it.
Trevor Eckhart even takes pains to turn off the GPS function for use by Google maps and search, and then he demonstrates how Carrier IQ still is logging your position.
Now, what can you do about it? The program can only be removed if you hack, or “root,” your phone. But beware – rooting your phone likely violates the contract you have signed with your carrier, and it clearly voids any manufacturer warranty you may have on the device.
Since the video was first posted, others have gone to work and exposed how in addition to Android phones the Carrier IQ software is also present on iPhones with iOS3 operating system and above.
The privacy issues surrounding smartphones have been numerous, but the exposure of Carrier IQ brings the threat to an entirely new level. Chances are if you have a smartphone you have no privacy around or while using the device. Be careful.
Makes you understand why criminals all use burner phones.