• Greg Baker

Take Me To Your Leader

(Reprinted from the Metro Spirit, 12/8/2011)

A potentially major scandal is emerging in the mobile device industry regarding the software manufacturer Carrier IQ.  Carrier IQ, a provider of Mobile Service Intelligence Solutions, develops software to give wireless carriers and handset manufacturers insight into their network and device performance.  A couple of weeks ago, however, a security researcher published findings that suggest this software does significantly more.  A video published on YouTube shows the software logging keystrokes, reading SMS messages and performing other curious actions.  Also, it shows that the software is embedded at the system BIOS level (i.e., a “rootkit”), making it very difficult or impossible to remove.  Since that time, we’ve learned that this software is widely distributed on AT&T, Sprint, HTC, T-Mobile and Samsung handsets.  Verizon, Blackberry, Google, HP, Microsoft and Nokia all deny the use of Carrier IQ software.  Apple states that “most” of its products don’t support Carrier IQ as of iOS5, and it will completely remove it in a future update.  Sen. Al Franken has requested the carriers utilizing Carrier IQ to appear before the Senate subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and Law, and a former Justice Department prosecutor states that the key stroke recording is very likely a violation of wire-tapping laws.  As of last Friday, class action lawsuits were filed against Carrier IQ, HTC, Samsung, AT&T, Sprint, Apple and T-Mobile over the use of the software.

There will certainly be more to come on this story.  If you are interested, you can find much more information by Googling “Carrier IQ”.  Also, Carrier IQ Detector apps are popping-up on the Andriod Market.  The VooDoo Carrier IQ Detector is widely published as being effective in the security blogs, although there are some false positives.  (The detector app on my Verizon Droid X correctly shows negative.)

In other news, we all know that the Apple iPhone is the hottest phone on the market.  But last week it was reported that the Apple iPhone 4 is the actual hottest phone.  On an Australian Regional Express flight, an iPhone began to glow red and give off a “significant amount of dense smoke”.  Apple responded by stating they were looking forward to working with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau as they investigate the incident.  Personally, I think a red iPhone would be a good addition to the product line.

On the second cyber-week of Christmas, my true geek gave to me…A complete friggin’ robot army?

Finally, my 8-year old daughter came to me yesterday and asked, “Daddy, why did Eeyore stick his head in the toilet?”

Curiously, I responded, “I don’t know, sweetheart, why did he?”

“Why, Daddy, he was looking for Pooh, of course!”

My daughter’s first potty joke!  I am so proud!

Until next time, I’ll see you on the internet…tweet me @gregory_a_baker.  L8R.

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