Man Shoots Video of 18-Foot Great White Shark With iPhone 4S ★
Half Wacko ★
This week’s episode of The Talk Show, with topics ranging from game consoles, retina display iPads and future Macs, a wee bit on this Carrier IQ stuff, to the demise of HyperCard. Brought to you by TinyLetter and Reinvigorate.
Carrier IQ Speaks ★
John Paczkowski spoke to executives at Carrier IQ. Even they’re backpedaling, pointing the finger at carriers:
The carriers. They decide what’s to be collected and how long
it’s stored — typically about 30 days. And according to Carrier
IQ, the data is in their control the whole time.
“It’s the operator that determines what data is collected,”
says Carrier IQ CEO Larry Lenhart. “They make that decision
based on their privacy standards and their agreement with their
users, and we implement it.”
On this point, Lenhart is particularly emphatic. “We capture
only the data they specify, and provide it to them,” he
reiterates. “We don’t capture more than that.”
They only capture what the carriers ask for.
The Tell ★
My initial reaction would be that this is being hugely blown out
of proportion — something we’ve seen before in the mobile
space — BUT the fact that every single company in the mobile
space is now trying to distance themselves from Carrier IQ is not
a good sign.
The companies that know best what Carrier IQ does, what data it has collected, are getting as far away from Carrier IQ as possible, as quickly as possible.
Dan Frommer on How to Write a Weblog ★
Great advice. I even agree with his priorities.
Stanley Kubrick’s New York ★
Post-WWII New York, through the camera of Stanley Kubrick. Not bad.
See also: Kubrick’s Chicago, circa 1949.
Mobile Phone Muggings on the Rise, at Least in San Francisco ★
C.W. Nevius, writing for The San Francisco Chronicle:
Official police statistics show that there were more than 40 cell
phone muggings in November. The number may not seem high, but it
is unsettling with just a portion of the crimes reported, and
virtually all of them involve a gun, knife or physical assault.
“You’re focused on your phone, talking, and you get sucker
punched,” said Tenderloin Station Capt. Joe Garrity.
Adam Engst: Let’s Stop With the Siri Baiting ★
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Today’s Edition of Cognitive Dissonance ★
From a Changewave survey of iPhone 4S owners:
When we looked at what new owners disliked most about their iPhone
4S, two things dwarfed all others — Battery Life and the Lack of
4G. A total of 38% of owners say the iPhone 4S’s Battery Life is
Too Short, while 30% say they dislike the Lack of 4G Capability.
Gee, I wonder what would happen to battery life if it had 4G.
AT&T, Sprint Confirm Use of Carrier IQ Software on Handsets ★
Jaikumar Vijayan, reporting for Computerworld:
AT&T and Sprint, two of the largest U.S. wireless carriers,
confirmed that its mobile handsets use the software but only for
legitimate service and quality-related purposes.
Apple Statement on Carrier IQ ★
We stopped supporting CarrierIQ with iOS 5 in most of our
products and will remove it completely in a future software
update. With any diagnostic data sent to Apple, customers must
actively opt-in to share this information, and if they do, the
data is sent in an anonymous and encrypted form and does not
include any personal information. We never recorded keystrokes,
messages or any other personal information for diagnostic data
and have no plans to ever do so.
RIM, HTC on Carrier IQ: Blame the Carriers ★
HTC went one step further, fingering the carriers outright.
“Carrier IQ is required on devices by a number of U.S carriers
so if consumers or media have any questions about the practices
relating to, or data collected by, Carrier IQ we’d advise them
to contact their carrier,” the company said, stressing that it
is not a customer or partner of Carrier IQ. “HTC is
investigating the option to allow consumers to opt-out of data
collection by the Carrier IQ application,” it added.
Sen. Al Franken Sends a Letter to Carrier IQ CEO Larry Lenhart ★
Sen. Al Franken:
But right now, Carrier IQ has a lot of questions to answer.
Verizon Disavows Use of Carrier IQ ★
Kevin Fitchard, reporting for GigaOm:
“Any report that Verizon Wireless uses Carrier IQ is patently
false,” Verizon Wireless spokesperson Jeffrey Nelson said in an
email. In an email follow-up, spokeswoman Debra Lewis elaborated.
“We did recently notify customers about new privacy programs; we
were transparent about how customer information will be used and
gave clear choices to customers about whether they want to
here). “Carrier IQ is not involved in these programs.”
No weasel words there.
Update: A few readers seem confused about whether I’m being sarcastic here. I’m not. This reads to me like a clear statement that Verizon is not using Carrier IQ. If the above is true, Verizon is not involved.
Read Between the Lines ★
RIM, in a statement to Reuters:
RIM does not pre-install the Carrier IQ app on BlackBerry
smartphones or authorize its carrier partners to install the
Carrier IQ app before sales or distribution. RIM also did not
develop or commission the development of the Carrier IQ
application, and has no involvement in the testing, promotion, or
distribution of the app.
So RIM doesn’t install it, and RIM doesn’t “authorize” carriers to install it, but note that they do not say that the carriers do not install it. So I think this headline by Nilay Patel at The Verge goes too far: “Carrier IQ not installed on BlackBerry phones, says RIM”. Sounds to me like it is installed on at least some BlackBerry phones, and RIM is distancing itself from it.
More on Google and Carrier IQ ★
Nilay Patel, writing for The Verge:
The Carrier IQ smartphone tracking scandal continues to grow,
but we’ve just learned some interesting news from an extremely
reliable source: the Google Nexus One, Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, and
the original Xoom tablet do not contain Carrier IQ software. Each
of those devices was launched in direct partnership with Google as
the flagship for a new version of Android, so it seems that the
addition of Carrier IQ comes from OEMs and carriers after Google
open-sources Android’s code.
Assuming that The Verge’s source is from Google — which could well be a wrong assumption, but that’s what it sounds like to me — it looks like Google is moving to distance itself and Android from Carrier IQ. If this turns into a scandal it’s going to get pinned — correctly, it seems at this point — on the carriers.
Carrier IQ, Android, and the Carriers ★
Carrier IQ is something that Carriers put on phones as part of
their OEM software. This is out of the hands of both Google and
And here’s Kyle Sluder, on Twitter:
This CarrierIQ story has been wrongly turned into an Apple vs.
Android battle. It’s all about the carriers.
Chris Rawson on Siri’s Purported ‘Pro-Life’ Bias ★
Chris Rawson, writing for TUAW:
Siri’s unhelpful and sometimes misleading answers to pressing
health questions stand in stark contrast to her prompt and
accurate responses to inquiries about nearby escort services,”
says Think Progress, while Slate goes even farther off the deep
end and says, “many around the Web [are] wondering if Siri is
pro-life and whether Apple is attempting to impose its morals upon
the rest of us.”
This is a textbook example of sensationalistic media making
something from absolutely nothing.
Plus, Apple is a pretty progressive company, especially by Fortune 500 standards. If anything, the company’s politics on this issue would skew the other way.
A Siri search for “Planned Parenthood” almost always returns
results no matter where you search in the States — because that
search is powered by Yelp rather than whatever comparatively
limited database Siri is using for more specific searches like
“abortion clinic” or “birth control.” If Siri is really supposed
to be “pro-life” and “imposing morals” on its users, then searches
for the politically charged Planned Parenthood clinics would also
turn up no results, wouldn’t they?
Apple Says Siri’s Abortion Answers Are a Glitch ★
Jenna Wortham, reporting for the NYT, gets a statement from Apple on the “Siri won’t help you find an abortion clinic” meme:
“Our customers want to use Siri to find out all types of
information, and while it can find a lot, it doesn’t always
find what you want,” said Natalie Kerris, a spokeswoman for
Apple, in a phone interview late Wednesday. “These are not
intentional omissions meant to offend anyone. It simply means that
as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places
where we can do better, and we will in the coming weeks.”
Carrier IQ on iOS ★
Good investigative work by Grant “chpwn” Paul. iOS includes a Carrier IQ daemon, but it doesn’t seem to log any particularly sensitive information. Nothing like a keylogger or reading SMS messages. He’s documenting his research on Twitter as he goes.
Update: Worth noting that it appears that nothing gets submitted to Carrier IQ if you opt-out with the “Send Automatically” switch in Settings → General → About → Diagnostics & Usage. That’s deep inside Settings, but Apple prompts you for that setting during iOS 5 device setup, too.