What is Carrier IQ and is it spying on you?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -   A security researcher found that his phone was recording every keystroke, including websites he visited.  He turned his phone to "airplane mode" and "Wifi" and it still tracked all his movements.  Digging a little deeper he pinpointed it to a software package called Carrier IQ.

There's so much to explain and information continues to develop at a break-neck pace.  However, cyber expert Theresa Payton tells you what she knows so far:

Carrier IQ said that's not what they built their software to do.  So who is tracking your every move?  The information is still coming in and the suspects are many!

Here is what we do know:

1.  Right now it is not clear if Carrier IQ intended to collect this data.

2.  Carriers say they are not collecting it.  Carrier IQ says they were surprised to learn they were collecting data at that level.

3.  Statements made by companies so far:

a.  T Mobile, Sprint and AT&T carriers say they use Carrier IQ to help them improve their networks

b.  HTC and Samsung said their phones do run it but it's because the carriers told them to.

c.  BlackBerry said they don't ship it with it on there but left it open that it could be on there as part of a reseller's handling.

Companies that say they don't use it at all:

Verizon phones


Nokia handsets

Microsoft / windows phones


Google Nexus

Apple  - mixed statements from the company

If you use iOS 5 on the newest iPhone it does not support Carrier IQ.  Older phones or the older operating system did use it.

4.  Opting out is a little tricky:

On an Apple phone using iOS 5, you can go to settings, general, about, and choose diagnostics and usage.  You can choose "don't send".  If you are on an older operating system for the Apple phone you have to jailbreak your phone which is against Apple policy to remove it.

Droid Users on the AT&T network:  There is an application you can install on Droid phones called CyanogenMod.

5.  Should I be worried?

Tracking:  A little too early to tell but the short answer is "yes".  Some company is tracking and relaying your every move on some phones.  That is an issue.

The Culprit:  The finger pointing worries me.  You  have phone manufacturers saying "not us". You have carriers acting puzzled.  You have a software tracking company saying they built it to gather information but not that information.

The Issue:  If someone was indeed tracking:



and other information and tying it to your device, it'd be worrisome and the FTC should look into it.