The Company That Helps Others Spy On Your Phone Has A New Plan: Share That Info With You

Spying Binoculars

Photo: Flickr

Carrier IQ — that company that builds software to let carriers and others track what you do on your phone — has come up with a new scheme: let the phone owners see what it sees.The company is marketing this brainchild as a self-help application.

It says its new customer service portal, coming next quarter, will let phone owners figure out why their smartphones are having technical problems so they can fix those issues themselves.

The company is hoping to entice users into not using one of the many hack methods turn it off — and also hoping mobile phone makers and operators won’t dump it.

Carrier IQ got itself into hot water a few months back when Android developers started to see it as an app loaded onto smartphones from Samsung, HTC, Nokia, BlackBerry, and supposedly Apple. They noticed that the app was tracking and recording everything on your phone from the content of your text messages to the web pages you visit and sending that information off to a third party like the carrier or the device maker.

It was even the subject of investigation by Senator Al Franken.

Carriers began backing away from Carrier IQ … Verizon issued a denial, and T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint were forced to do damage control.

So the company has come up with a reason to share the data with the person it is spying on.

“Industry figures suggest that smartphone users are twice as likely to call for support as feature phone users, but two-thirds of smartphone users would prefer self-help tools to calling into customer care,” the company explains.

So would you turn Carrier IQ on — or buy a phone that has it installed — if it let you play tech support for your own phone?

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