Carrier IQ on webOS? Nothing to see here... | webOS Nation

Carrier IQ on webOS? Nothing to see here... 29

by Derek Kessler Thu, 01 Dec 2011 5:55 pm EST

So you may have heard about this brouhaha going on over at our sister sites CrackBerry, Android Central, and TiPb. They call it “Carrier IQ”, which in essence is a data collection system that monitors how you use your smartphone and reports back to the installer about how your phone operates. We’ve seen it claimed on BlackBerry smartphones, though RIM contends that they don’t allow it (though that’s not to say that carriers don’t do it anyway), discovered to be insecurely implemented and tracking a lot of actions on HTC smartphones, and was recently removed from iOS devices. XDA-Developers’ TrevE did some digging with his Android phone and discovered it was going so far as to even be logging individual keystrokes.

It’s caused quite the blogger storm, mostly because we hate it when something’s going on without our knowing about it (see: iPhone location tracking). Surely, most of what Carrier IQ is tracking is innocuous and anonymous info that likely has gone to improving our devices, but that we didn’t know the extent of what was happening is what has people peeved.

So what about that webOS smartphone you’re holding onto? Is it tracking your every movement and reporting back to black-hooded evil overlords intent on world domination and the eradication of paninis? Nope.

HP webOS Chief Architect Brian Hernacki (who rose to the position after being Chief Security Architect at Palm and working at Symantec [LinkedIn profile]) took to Twitter to answer the question of “is Carrier IQ on webOS?” And the answer was one lacking the evasiveness and corporate double-speak of other manufacturer responses: “There is no carrierIQ in webOS,” says Hernacki.

Both AT&T and Sprint have admitted to using Carrier IQ on their handsets, and that’s worth noting. The company’s name is Carrier IQ after all, not OEM IQ or Mobile Accomblisher IQ. It’s Carrier IQ, and the work at the behest of the carriers, who are always looking for new ways to squeeze an extra penny out of every customer. It’s also worth noting that Apple’s response to the Carrier IQ question indicated that the OS must have support for Carrier IQ to be able to suck up data about what you’re doing. If that support isn’t there, then the app can’t function. That’s likely why we don’t see Carrier IQ on devices running webOS or Windows Phone – Palm and Microsoft either declined or simply refused to build support for the tracking software into their mobile operating systems.

For our part, this is the kind of mess in the smartphone world we're glad to sit out. Have at it, boys.


Carriers probably just didn't care enough to demand CarrierIQ support.

Certainly Sprint could have asked for it at the launch of the original Pre? They cared pretty well then.

I wonder if it was in the original Droid too. Maybe they only start to add it when the phone reaches a critical mass of adopters.

we said no.

That's great! Thank you!

Heck, HP dosen't know what to do with its OS let alone all the information they may or may not be gathering...

happy to not be tracked... I avoid google like the plague bc of their tracking. No thanks Big Brother. Take your 1984 and shove it...

Would this explain all the phantom data on phones?

So what about all the logging and uploading on our devices (my Touchpad, Veer, and Pre) that we have used patching to turn off? What is the point of that? It may not be named CarrierIQ but it sure records what apps we install and much more.

I was going to post the same thing. The difference, as I understand it, is that WebOS logs app usage statistics for HP/Palm and not for the carriers. Of course, there is nothing to stop them from sharing it with the carriers after the fact.

Some of the logging has legit usage for tracking down errors and such, but much of the WebOS logging seems to be excessive.

My thoughts exactly; tracking by another name.

Once the data is in their hands, sensitive backup info included (see pic above), anything can be done w/ it. In a post-9/11 world, just about any agency, contractor or subcontractor can have access to it.

In the case of CIQ even the bits destined for SSL encryption - like secure logins and banking info - show up in plain text.

Wow...that has to be a lot of unstructured data. I wonder how they sift through all of it. I mean if there were just a company out there that could analyze and mine all of it...

If you look at the data in the video by TrevE (?) its clearly structured.

As an 'IQ' company, their job is to analyze data and do so efficiently. I imagine a tiny server farm that can take the totality of output in a day - from millions of devices - and run it through software specifically designed for the job.

The data could be easily decrypted (if encrypted to begin with) and presented in plain text - which the majority already is.

"What would Winston Smith do?"

He'd meet w/ Julia for a little therapy, of course.

I cant help but feel like Winston in a way. One just cant be sure of whats being tracked these days.

Does my Sprint Pre3... oh, wait, nevermind.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! Nice! Agreed!

Out of curiosity, has anyone (webOSinternals?) _confirmed_ that this isn't on webOS devices? Just because an individual says it isn't isn't enough. After all, as Derek said, this is Carrier IQ - just because it isn't in webOS doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't tacked on by a carrier. Could something like this explain why updates took much longer to come out for AT&T devices versus Verizon?

So...Carrier IQ may not "officially" be on webOS, but on my 1.4.5 Sprint pre- dialing ##5647# brings up a logging settings card...

This is probably just be a way of controlling the extensive internal logging that we all know is present in webOS, but I find it interesting that the same code is referenced in discussions about configuring Carrier IQ on android devices.

Maybe because 5647 spells "LOGS" on the keypad. Just a guess.

at this point I wouldn't mind if I had it on my Sprint Pre- or my frankenpre 2, Sprint spies can see, damn this guy STILL on his Pre- in 2011, madness! He's now running 2.1 WebOS also madness! Lol maybe we should look more into this crazy customer of ours with this madness going on lol maybe contact HP inform them of this madness! :-P

I haven't been this angry in a very long time. Not only do these SOB Crapdroid makers lock you out of your own GD property, they put a rootkit on it that tracks your every keystroke including intercepting secure browsing activity. For once I a rooting for major bankrupting-sized lawsuits and hopefully a federal wiretap investigation that leads to jail time for some 7-figure execs.

You might get your wish...or at least the start of your wish.

“Consumers need to know that their safety and privacy are being protected by the companies they trust with their sensitive information,” said Sen. Franken. “The revelation that the locations and other sensitive data of millions of Americans are being secretly recorded and possibly transmitted is deeply troubling. This news underscores the need for Congress to act swiftly to protect the location information and private, sensitive information of consumers. But right now, Carrier IQ has a lot of questions to answer.” -- Senator Al Franken

And that, children, is why you've been seeing US carriers pushing iOS and Android like there's no tomorrow. It's also why they didn't want webOS and why they're treating WinPho7 as a red-headed stepchild.

It has nothing to do with the fact that those platforms pretty much sell themselves. They didn't want webOS because of this, and only this. Right?


I wonder how you'd explain the fact that starting with iOS 5, there is no Carrier IQ enabled (to be fully removed in the future) yet iOS 5 is the version of the iPhone that got placed on even more carriers than before.

Anyway, good to know we've FINALLY nailed down the reason for webOS' failure. It's because it does not have Carrier IQ. Funny stuff.

or pobably becuse they were not on par with other devices


when I posted that, I did so knowing YOU'd be the only one reacting.

Funny stuff indeed :D

Sure you did. Good attempt at cleanup though. (not really)

Keep the comedy routine going! Both of you should quit your day jobs.