Over in the G2 forums at Android Central, a user posted this tidbit of information they saw on an XDA forum: “Look what I found roaming around kernel wake locks on battery stats. Posted on xda, apparently not on the Verizon G2 just att.” They then ran some detection software and received this result:
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That their AT&T LG G2 device was infected with our dreaded friend, Carrier IQ, the third-party embedded analytics company that gathers up information about you and sells that information for profit. It is one thing when we expect a company like Facebook or Google to track information for themselves and advertisers, but quite another when you buy a new device and, without your knowledge or informing you, it is already embedded in your shiny new phone.
You may have noticed in the quote above, Carrier IQ was found on the AT&T version of the LG G2, but was not present on the Verizon Wireless version – this is because Verizon is on the list of companies that deny that they use Carrier IQ. Below is a list found on Gizmodo:
Fortunately, there is a simple way to test your Android phone by going to the Play Store and download a free Carrier IQ detector app to scan your device. There are several out there and I used a popular one called Carrier IQ Detector, which you can get HERE.
The app description explains a little about what it does:
Security researchers have recently determined that a number of consumer mobile devices contain pre-installed software from Carrier IQ. While this software appears to be designed to help mobile network operators improve coverage through metrics tracking, it does not provide a clear opt-out path for users. Additionally, it can be difficult for non-technical users to determine whether or not their handset is affected. We’ve developed the Carrier IQ Detector to aid in this process in an effort to keep mobile users fully informed about what their phone is doing.
It goes on further to explain that you cannot remove the Carrier IQ from your device with this app – it is too “deeply integrated with handset firmware, users would be required to attain special device privileges.” I ran this app on my Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and received this welcomed message:
About the only way to rid yourself of Carrier IQ is by rooting your phone or use only a burner Tracfone! If properly used, Carrier IQ is no more dangerous than other parasites that may be lurking on your device, but the temptation to stretch the limits is certainly there and we have no idea how deep they are tracking. You may want to check out the list on the internet of carriers or manufacturers that will not put Carrier IQ on their devices, but make sure you check out the list before you make your next purchase, as it is updated regularly.
How do you feel about these tracking programs put on devices that you purchase without your consent? Let us know in the comments or on Google+.