T-Mobile HTC One S

Thermalx, in our T-Mobile HTC One S Q&A, writes,

I thought carriers had about stopped with the whole Carrier IQ thing. But according to this T-Mo doc, the One S has Carrier IQ, any thoughts on that? Personally I'm not swayed much by it as I'll get CM9 as soon as it's available.

Ah ha! A good question, and one I'd meant to cover sooner. As part of our Ultimate Sense 4 Guide, we'd done a separate post on Privacy and the Tell HTC Experience Log. That covers analytics and other data that that Sense itself can collect. But it's not necessarily on your phone, and it's not necessarily the only analytics tool a carrier is using. 

When you first go through setup on the T-Mobile (US) HTC One S, you'll be asked whether you want T-Mobile to be able to collect diagnostics information. The section reads as follows:

As part of our commitment to delivering the best network quality and device experience possible, this device is equipped with diagnostics software.

Consistent with T-Mobile's privacy policy, this software collects diagnostics data so that T-Mobile can better troubleshoot technical issues with your device or service.

Diagnostics data transmissions are free of charge and do not count toward your T-Mobile data usage.

The software does not capture the content of your calls or messages.

There's a big checkbox for you to choose whether you want to participate. 

One catch, though. Things look a little different if you go to the Privacy section of the settings menu. There under "Collect Diagnostics," you have a screen that looks different but contains the same message. (It's T-Mobile branded instead of Sense 4 branded. No big deal, as far as looks are concerned.) But in addition to the checkbox, there's also a "More info" button. Tap it, and it takes you to a T-Mobile page titled "Carrier IQ Information and FAQs."

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So, yes. T-Mobile is using Carrier IQ for its analytics software on the HTC One S. (Note how that's different than if we said "the HTC One S has Carrier IQ." This is a T-Mobile thing. Why's this a big deal? Carrier IQ was in the news a good bit of 2011 because folks finally realized that carriers had been using it to collect network data, and that it was improperly implemented on some phones. We'll leave it to you to decide whether things got blown out of proportion. Our object here today is to make sure you're informed when you boot up your T-Mobile One S for the first time.

In the Carrier IQ Q&A section, T-Mobile makes the following points:

  • Yes, Carrier IQ is used. (It's also mentioned on this tech specs page, so it's not like anyone's hiding it.)
  • Carrier IQ is used "to troubleshoot device and network performance." (Which is what it's always been used for.)
  • TMo says it "does not use the tool to obtain the content of texts, e-mail or voice messages, or the specific destinations of customers' Internet activity."
  • TMo also says it doesn't use the data to market things to you.
  • It then repeats all that, adding "Our implementation of Carrier IQ is limited to collecting metrics that help us analyze and troubleshoot device and network performance such as information about signal strength and dropped calls."

We understand why everybody's a little jumpy when they hear "Carrier IQ." But it's not like carrier diagnostics tools are new, nor are they unique to T-Mobile. Verizon's adding them into some phones. We're already mentioned how Sense 4 has its own diagnostics baked in (and you can turn them off in the T-Mobile One S just like you can in the international version.) But now you know exactly what you've got in your T-Mobile One S.

Read more in our HTC One S forums

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