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2 years ago

AT&T's use of Carrier IQ extends to its own analytics app, not just embedded on phone

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AT&T's responses to questions posed by U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., over the use of Carrier IQ analytics software are probably the most interesting we've seen thus far. 

AT&T has been using Carrier IQ only since March 2011, with the Motorola Bravo the first device to have it integrated. However, AT&T has had its own analytics tool in use since 2009. Called Mark the Spot, or MTS, it differs from Carrier IQ in that it's a traditional application, downloaded and installed by the consumer and not preloaded onto the device before purchase. The idea is that if you experience a network hiccup -- like a dropped call -- you'd fire up the app and let AT&T know. 

Mark the Spot was released for the iPhone in December 2009, and for Android in June 2011. In February 2011, AT&T began packaging Carrier IQ code with the MTS application, first for BlackBerry, and a month later for Android.

Android devices that have Carrier IQ software installed include the Pantech Pocket, LG Thrill 4G, ZTE Avail, Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, Motorola Atrix 2 and the aforementioned Motorola Bravo. 

AT&T says only about 900,000 devices -- or about 1 percent of the device on its network -- have Carrier IQ on board, either preloaded or with the MTS app. And of those devices, 575,000 report back to AT&T.

AT&T also says it does not share any of its CIQ data with "any other non-AT&T company." and that it has not shared data with any federal or state law enforcement. It does, however, comply with court orders, subponeas and other legal orders.

Data collected from AT&T devices is inaccessible after 60 days from being uploaded. AT&T says it has "three downstreem systems receiving personally identifiable CIQ data from the AT&T server." One of those servers stores data for just 45 days, another has data from September 2011, and the third data from May 2011.

Like Sprint, AT&T explained that it indeed collects phone numbers "in the ordinary cource of its business" and for "Voice Call Performance and Messaging Performance metrics." It does not collect contents of e-mails, URLs of websites visited, contents of search quereies, names or contact information from address books, and none of its CIQ profiles is set to collet the content of text messages.

More: AT&T's response (pdf)

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2 years ago

Sprint: 26 million devices with Carrier IQ, but we only ping a fraction at one time

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Update: Sprint says it's no longer using Carrier IQ

Sprint, in its reponse to U.S. Sen. Al Franken over its use of the Carrier IQ software, goes into great detail about how and why it needs and uses such analytic data, reiterating that "The Carrier IQ diagnostic tool can help Sprint engineers understand the functionality (or not) of handset appliations when connecting with the network and steps that Sprint might take to improve services ..."

Sprint also told Franken that it has Carrier IQ installed on some 26 million devices, but that the Carrier IQ software doesn't actually collect any data until Sprint itself tells it to. In fact, says Sprint, only 1.3 million devices -- that's 5 percent of the 26 million total -- may be "tasked" to collect data at a given time. And, Sprint says, that number often is much lower -- 30,000 -- when responding to specific research requests.

Sprint didn't spell out exactly which of its devices use Carrier IQ -- which has been in service of the carrier since 2006 -- but we've already seen answers from HTC and Samsung. (Motorola's are forthcoming.) The phones listed thus far include:

  • Samsung: Moment, Epic 4G, Intercept, Transform, Galaxy Tab (original 7-inch), Galaxy Prevail, Replenish, Conquer 4G, Transform Ultra (Boost Mobile), Epic 4G Touch
  • HTC: Snap (Windows Mobile), Touch Pro 2 (Windows Mobile), Hero, EVO 4G, EVO Shift 4G, EVO 3D, EVO Design 4G

Sprint also told Franken that it does not share any of the data it receives with third parties, that it "is used internally for Sprint's own use, for analysis by Sprint employees and contractors to assist wtih device certification and functionality on its own network, for network maintenance and improvement." But, Sprint added, "In the course of certifying device funcationality, prior to selling phones to customers, Sprint does share and receive certain testing results with handset manufacturers." The emphasis there is ours. Anything it shares with the manufacturer comes before it's in your pocket. Sprint also indicated that it does nto share any Carrier IQ data with law enforcement.

Sprint also explained how long Carrier IQ data is stored. Carrier IQ itself stores some of the data on its services for "approximately 30-45 days." Sprint keeps some data on its own servers for 6 months or so, and stores aggregated reports from Carrier IQ for 12 months (varies depending on the analysis being conducted, Sprint says). 

Probably our favorite part of Sprint's repsonse, though, comes from a footnote in its introductary statement, wherein Sprint reminds us all that it already knows the cell site you're using, the people your calling and texting, and the websites you're visiting. It has to to be a carrier, and you're paying it to do so. Here's the full passage:

"Similarly, we know the cell site on which a phone is registering its location, which is necessary for the delivery of voice and data services. We also know the telephone numbers to which our customers initiated a call or sent a text. Such data is necessary to deliver communications services. In many cases the data collection is required by law and regulations."

More: Sprint's response (pdf)

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2 years ago

Samsung: 25 million phones with Carrier IQ; other devices have 'dormant' code

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Samsung Mobile, in its response to U.S. Sen. Al Franken over the Carrier IQ saga, says that it's sold some 25 million cell phones preloaded with Carrier IQ software, which it's been using since 2007. Many of these phones are non-Android feature phones, and Samsung repeats the response we've already heard from HTC in that it's not a customer of Carrier IQ, therefore it doesn't see the data collected.

Interestingly, Samsung also echoes HTC by saying some of its phones also may contain components of Carrier IQ and therefore may trigger the various CIQ detector apps available, but that the software is "dormant." Unlike HTC, however, Samsung did not say whether it was working to remove these dormant components. Says Samsung:

"Because the CIQ agent and other required CIQ software components are not installed, however, these vestigial elements do not and will not function on these devices, and therefore, the devices do not transmit (and never have transmitted) any user data using any CIQ software functionality."

Samsung did not say which phones contain the dormant CIQ code.

Following are the Android smartphones Samsung says contain Carrier IQ:

  • AT&T: Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket
  • Sprint: Moment, Epic 4G, Intercept, Transform, Galaxy Tab (original 7-inch), Galaxy Prevail, Replenish, Conquer 4G, Transform Ultra (Boost Mobile), Epic 4G Touch
  • T-Mobile: Samsung Galaxy S II, Exhibit II 4G

More: Samsung's response (pdf)

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2 years ago

HTC: 6.3 million devices with Carrier IQ -- including some that shouldn't have it

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Now here's where it gets interesting. In HTC's response to questioning from U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., it listed some 6.3 million "active devices" that have Carrier IQ installed. They include:

  • Sprint: Snap (Windows Mobile), Touch Pro 2 (Windows Mobile), Hero, EVO 4G, EVO Shift 4G, EVO 3D, EVO Design 4G
  • AT&T: Vivid
  • T-Mobile: Amaze 4G

However, HTC also disclosed that "components of the Carrier IQ solution" are on the HTC Merge, Acquire, Desire, Wildfire, Flyer and a variant of the Hero. But, the components on those phones "are not requested by the wireless service providers who sell these devices. HTC is currently working on an update to remove these software components from these devices.

HTC, in its response, reiterates that it neither receives nor stores any data the Carrier IQ software collects because the carrier, not HTC, is Carrier IQ's customer. And that's repeated in the bulk of the responses.

More: HTC's response (pdf)

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2 years ago

AT&T Galaxy S II Android 2.3.6 update pushed out

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The AT&T Galaxy S II is getting a nice little update this morning that brings its Android version number to 2.3.6. A number of people have reported that the update failed at first, but others have installed it with nary a hitch. Go to Settings>About Phone and give it a shot, then hit the link below to see how it's going for everyone else.

Discuss: AT&T Galaxy S II forums; more: Samsung
Thanks, @dmcincubus, for the tip!

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2 years ago

Google Music opens up to everyone ... if you're in the US

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Google Music has gone and gotten itself an update in the Market, and that Beta tag has finally been lost. That's right folks, invitations are no longer required and Google Music is open to all. 

Open to all though still only applies if you're within the U.S., so for the rest of us, there's still no official way of setting up an account. 

The application update also brings with it a host of bug fixes, and the seamless integration with the Music store in the Android Market. All your purchases will now automatically appear within the app. 

If you're about to start using Google Music for the first time, you'll want to check out our complete guide to using the service.

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 headed to Cricket Wireless Dec. 16

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Cricket plans to release their first tablet package tomorrow (Dec. 16), consisting of the 16GB Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and a Crosswave Mobile Hotspot (with one months service) for $595.  The Galaxy Tab has a retail of $499, and the hotspot rings up at $149.99, so in reality this isn't a bad deal if you're looking for cheap monthly mobile broadband access and a shiny new tablet to go with.

According to the press release (find it after the break) corporate Cricket stores should have the bundle, as well as just the Galaxy Tab for $499, on shelves starting tomorrow.  You'll be able to enjoy everything you love about Android and the Galaxy Tab, with some no-contract 3G data to go along with it. 

More: Cricket

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2 years ago

Dark Incursion comes to Android, brings steampunk with a dash of Metroid

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If you're looking for yet another game to add to your tally, Big Blue Bubba has brought over Dark Incursion to Android. Their self-described "MetroidVania" styled title follows follows Anya as she looks to uncover a conspiracy in 1800s America during a world war.

Boasting pixel-based art and stereoscopic 3D (using the ol' red/blue glasses), steampunk art style, and the ability to tug at everyone's love of retro gaming, Dark Incursion looks like something worth checking out.

Video and download links are after the break.

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2 years ago

Verizon Galaxy Nexus day, ICS when? [From the Forums]

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WooHoo! Verizon released the Galaxy Nexus -- finally! Did you get one today? If so -- let us know. We've been celebtrating the release all day in the Android Central forums as many folks are now sharing their thoughts on the long awaited device. Got something to add? Hop on in.

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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2 years ago

Adobe Flash Player updated, now supports Ice Cream Sandwich

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With many of you now armed with a Samsung Galaxy Nexus the folks at Adobe felt it was time to go ahead and update their Adobe Flash Player 11 to include support for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The notes in the change log confirm there is still some issues that need to be worked out but for the most things should be working fine.  If you're looking for the full change log, you can hit up the source link -- otherwise, go grab v11.1.112.60 from the Android Market. Thanks, Adobe, for not making us all wait until the end of the year.

Source: Adobe; Thanks to all who sent this in!

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