Software installed on millions of Android phones is thought to be secretly tracking every key stroke, Google search, and text message by their users, it has been claimed.An Android app developer in America has posted a video showing what he claims is ‘conclusive proof’ that ‘Carrier IQ’ software installed by manufacturers of many US phones records the way those phones are used in real time, as well as their geographic locations.
Carrier IQ has claimed that the software only tracks information for the benefit of users, not for any spying purposes, and that it is “counting and summarising” information rather than recording it.
However, in a YouTube video the developer, Trevor Eckhart, did a “factory reset” on his Android phone, returning it to the condition in which it is shipped to customers, and linked it to a computer screen which allegedly displayed what the Carrier IQ software was tracking.
The demonstration shows that the software reads every keystroke put into the phone, as well as every text message sent to it. It also appeared to log location data, and transmit this to Carrier IQ.
Mr Eckhart, claims it is used by manufacturers of phones that use Google’s Android operating system, as well as some BlackBerry and Nokia handsets. It is not thought to be used in Apple’s iPhones.
It is not known if Carrier IQ is in use in Europe, where it might present a serious breach of the Data Protection laws.
A source at a leading mobile operator said his company didn’t install it but that he had been investigating whether UK manufacturers had done so and “couldn’t give a definitive answer”.