Carrier Iq Controversy
Posted 05 December 2011 - 12:55 PM
It's been revealed that US smartphones are secretly gathering data, including keystrokes, for telcos. At this stage the issue seems to be confined to the US.
Major Australian telcos have gone on the record to confirm that none of the phones they sell to Australian customers have the software installed. Even still, it always pays to be cautious. We've got a help article on disabling Carrier IQ, and a feature on what you need to know – should it ever present as an issue here in Australia.
I would be completely incensed to learn that my smartphone was running software to provide personal information to the telcos. Where do you draw the line when it comes to user privacy? Surely this is crossing it in a major way?
It's times like these I'm tempted to scout the nearest cave and hermit my way into a tech-free existence. Slightly dramatic yes, but it makes you ponder the greater issue of information and how vulnerable/susceptible we are as consumers.
Do you think this is just another casualty of the Information Age? Should we view privacy as an antiquated whim? If you can convince me otherwise, I'll surely sleep a lot better tonight.
Posted 05 December 2011 - 06:18 PM
Posted 05 December 2011 - 10:23 PM
What do you mean by "privacy"?
Since there have been telephones there have been telephone books which contained names and addresses of people who had telephones, all very easily and very publicly accessible, before that there was an annual publication called "Who's who", before that if you were important people knew you, if you weren't you were too busy trying to make enough to feed your family to care anyway.
If you have a credit card or any kind of loyalty card, or subscribe to a forum or a magazine, you have given away information about yourself that can be used to track your buying habits.
What have you got to hide? Why is "privacy" so important? "Privacy" is different to "identity".
In the past, census data has been used by invading armies to find people of particular religious and cultural persuasion, but now it is just a bit easier to assemble all that data. You can run but you can't hide, so why bother running?
Posted 06 December 2011 - 08:41 AM
You can't compare the level of user vulnerability from the early days of the telephone to now. It simply does not wash. This was a software installed without the consent of its users and where possible, I think it important that society fight back against major corporations who assume the right to personal information through illegal means. Yes illegal. This is now headed to the courts in the US because of the seriousness of the situation. Apple is one of the eight companies who have been named in the filing.
Just because there is a credit card in my wallet and a phone in my home, does not mean I waiver my rights to limits on data sharing. What do I have to hide? More liked what do I have to protect. And if you want to argue that the answer to this is 'nothing' then I challenge us all to put forward private telephone lines, credit card information, latest batch of medical results and our most recent tax return on this forum.
You can't stop technology, or indeed the different ways of marketing in a consumer-driven world, but that doesn't mean you should succumb to something like this, where information that is considered private is illegally obtained and used. Regulation, objection, discussion and vigilance is a right that should be exercised by all. What is the alternative? Lay down and die?
Ken save a tin of soup for me!
Posted 06 December 2011 - 06:14 PM
You see, I would argue that in buying the phone you have already been exploited. A "smart phone" in particular is a device whose sole purpose is to separate you from your money as surreptitiously as possible. Plans which refer to money limits rather than time per month are the first example of this. Tracking is not new either, anyone who has watched a cheap thriller will know that with the right gear even landlines can be positioned.
So while you may not sign up to allow this, surely one can't be naive enough to believe it's not possible, legally or otherwise?
Yes I can, perhaps my point was clumsy, but the fact is that as long as there have been people with an interest in taking money off other people there have been ways of tracking them. Census's were conducted and taxes levied and it wasn't a fun time at all by all accounts. There were robber tax collectors too.... all we have is a new version of this, and if we are to adopt this technology then we must accept that it has consequences.
I agree with you entirely, particularly as it appears that the software can record keystrokes and therefore anything that is said, however the fact that it is in place doesn't make it a problem, using it does. There are countless spy apps available, and I suspect none of the people who install them advise the owners of the phones. That does not make it right, but it is a fact of life.
May I ask how the spyware on your telephone gets a hold of your medical results or your tax return?
Phone numbers are in the book usually, and credit card information would constitute theft if it was taken without the owners knowledge.
The alternative is to not be unnecessarily concerned, to be careful yet to trust that the lawmakers will protect you in the event that your information is misused. There are very few people who have a web presence whose details could not be discovered relatively simply, but the real question is for what purpose.
Find my details and send me a Christmas Card!
Cell phones have been trackable since they were invented, phones have been bugable too.
And on that fatalistic note, I shall go and drown my phone and my modem I think!
Nice discussion though,
P (who doesn't have his date of birth proudly declared on Facebook, but after this rant I'd better change all my passwords!)
Posted 07 December 2011 - 07:57 AM
I like the fact that you have passion for the topic Pete, which seems to contradict your line of argument that we should leave this to the 'lawmakers'. A large part of law comes from policy which is spearheaded through advocacy which, in turn, comes direct from the masses. We have the ability and the means to change a situation like this.
U don't suggest we revert back to the days of carrier pigeons who have signed confidentiality agreements with their beaks. It's about a balance. There's no set measurement of what that is or where to draw the line, but when an issue like Carrier IQ arises, I think it becomes clear that enough is enough.
I don't ever want to to turn in my rights to privacy or the discussion to change regulations if it means that I become a lemming, with all of my info on display.
Medical records and tax returns are an example of what we consider personal data, not to be 100% literal – as you seemed to address all of my points.
The birth date on Facebook is a choice users are given. We consent or withhold publishing this information. Carrier IQ was never an open policy or decision for mobile phone owners to make. That, undoubtedly, is wrong.
Posted 08 December 2011 - 04:56 PM
Grace, I tried.... 200 views on this thread and two (sorry Ken) contributors probably show that there's some interest in the topic. Just why no one else jumped in is a bit of a puzzle, I thought I'd left plenty of bait!
You are of course correct in what you say of Carrier IQ, however that aside there is no doubt that what is and is not considered to be "private" is a work in progress and is not so clear cut.
I suppose I could have argued that the Carrier IQ thing is not actually controversial, but I'd better quit while I'm behind.