How To Check If Your Carrier Is Spying On You

How To Check If Your Carrier Is Spying On You

Eric Chen
Dec 7, 2011

For the past week, a storm has been blowing over a piece of software installed on your smartphone called Carrier IQ. Essentially it is a tracking software, pre-installed on your phone, that tracks the usage of your phone and sends it back to your carrier. Although Verizon has completely denied using this software, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile have all admit to using this software. Here's how to find out if your carrier is stalking you on your smartphone.

Apple has declared that most of their devices with the iOS 5 updates have dropped support for Carrier IQ, and that any devices with the software still installed will be removed in a future update.

For those of you that paid attention during the activation process of your new iPhone, you should've came across an option asking you whether you'd like to send "Diagnostics & Usage Data" to Apple. If you selected "Don't Send" you should be in the clear in terms of tracking data being sent from your phone.

To make sure you turned of the function simply go to "Settings" > "General" > "About" > "Diagnostics & Usage" (near the bottom of the menu) > Select "Don't Send". This should effectively stop your phone from sending tracking information to Apple and your carrier.

Those with an Android device could also check whether there is Carrier IQ on your phone by downloading Bitdefender's Carrier IQ Finder app on Android market. Carrier IQ is not installed on every phone, even if your carrier is one of the ones that admitted to using Carrier IQ, so we'd run to app just to be sure.

On the other hand getting rid of Carrier IQ is a more tricky endeavor on an Android device. Our research revealed that the only way for Android users to get rid of Carrier IQ is to root their phones and install a third-party rom. Otherwise, there aren't many things you can do to turn off the software. We did notice from our research that most carriers are distancing themselves from Carrier IQ, with the notable exception of Sprint. So it might be possible for carriers to push an update to your phone that will remove the software.

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