Long and short of it is that if you want privacy beyond "I'm boring, so no one cares", a device that holds pretty much every important bit of info about you made by large corporations that is nearly always connected to the internet via carriers isn't really for you.
The galling potential of this story is that even though you're paying for your cell phone and service, you are potentially still the product being sold.
In other words, advertisers come first. Since advertisers don't have the same priorities as end-users, I don't find the argument very compelling.
Your summary is incorrect. Advertisers and users are mutually dependent. If the advertisers priorities clash with the users priorities, it is not at all obvious that the advertisers will win. The fact that Google mail doesn't have flashy colored intrusive ads is testament to that.
In what way does this name help explain the relationship?
Yeah, by what definition aren't they? Like any popular high-demand product they get to name their price.
But no gmail user is in much higher demand by google (or their advertizes) compared to any other. The generic gmail user is more like dime-a-dozen no-name bands that don't have even a whiff of the negotiating power against a label that the Stones do by virtue of being the Rolling fucking Stones.
s/gmail/whatever "you're the product" service in question/
The phrase you're the product! doesn't express anything meaningful about the relationship. Buy any magazine, you'll still get plastered with ads. In that sense you bought a product, and yet you still are a product. You still haven't discovered anything about the quality of the service.
How about comparing a non-multimillionaire artist instead?
-- Mick Jagger (ref: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/8681410.stm)
I currently have my default search provider set to Bing because I hate searching from the navigation bar anyways and it really annoys me that there's no way to turn it off. I suppose that's the price I pay for using a browser built by a search engine.
I fondly remember the days when Michael Arrington was some corporate puke working for RealNames, a search-from-the-URL-bar concept that everyone outside of RealNames and Microsoft hated. Literally. Everyone.
Google made Mozilla profitable by paying them to be the default search engine. The moment they figured out that worked was probably the last moment browsing was safe anywhere - and the last moment being a Mozilla employee was safe as a long term goal for anyone, oddly enough.
Also if you want to change any privacy settings go to preferences->Under the Hood->Privacy thats it. You don't have to change your search engine.
For the wiseguy who picks up on that last comment, my preference is Firefox with NoScript, AdBlock, and a disinclination for downloading sex.exe, so no, the common tracking systems do not know much about me. However, my ISP is quite familiar with my habits.
Someone recommended to me Chromium, claiming that it was stripped of this nonsense. So I tried that. Chromium did not phone home in my tests. It also lacked a few nice features that Chrome had, as if it were at least a version behind; I cannot remember what they were, only that at that point, I was sick of the hassle and ditched both pieces of software.
If you are concerned about apps phoning home, just run tcpdump/wireshark/whatever and watch. The extra paranoid will route their connections through a box with these tools.
My tests were within two months ago, so I feel the claim is pretty relevant.
We can roll over or we can complain and fix it. This fight is winnable and worth having.
I can understand how information about which apps crash, where calls and messages are dropped can be valuable but beyond that?
See here (for those not on iOS5): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxBsKO2lJQk#t=42s
But if this is CarrierIQ working there, then it means it's also being used in Europe. And it probably also means that the media will get in an iOS vs Android fight again instead of highlighting the issue. And FWIW, it surprises me much more that RIM would do crap like that.
I'm an iOS user and I'm concerned by this, I know that maybe these data are not sent to any remote server or maybe it depends on the carrier, but still I'm concerned that Apple would integrate a third party binary on its system. That's plain wrong for me. I want them to tell us what their phone collect, what their phone send to remote servers and for what uses. It is a matter of trust, trust is hard to gain and easy to lose and I think that Apple should handle this asset with great care.
Really? Based on the "Legal" section of my 3rd gen iPod touch, there appears to be a bunch of third-party binaries integrated into iOS.
Honestly, how would anyone but Apple know this?
Diagnostic and usage information may include details about hardware and operating system specifications, performance statistics, and data about how you use your device and applications. None of the collected information identifies you personally. Personal data is either not logged at all or is removed from any reports before they’re sent to Apple. You can review the information by going to Settings, tapping General, tapping About and looking under Diagnostics & Usage.
If you have consented to provide Apple with this information, and you have Location Services turned on, the location of your device may also be sent to help Apple analyze wireless or cellular performance issues (for example, the strength or weakness of a cellular signal in a particular location). This diagnostic location data may include the location of your device once per day, or the location where a call ends. You may choose to turn off Location Services for Diagnostics at any time. To do so, open Settings, tap Location Services, tap System Services and turn off the Diagnostics switch.
You may also choose to turn off Diagnostics altogether. To do so, open Settings, tap General, tap About and choose “Don’t Send” under Diagnostics & Usage.
To help Apple’s partners and third-party developers improve their apps, products and services designed for use with Apple products, Apple may provide such partners or developers with a subset of diagnostic information that is relevant to that partner’s or developer’s app, product or service, as long as the diagnostic information is aggregated or in a form that does not personally identify you.
UPDATE: And if Apple's Carrier IQ code is only ever activated in an opt-in diagnostics mode, then it may be in the clear completely here.
I suppose one way to fight this is to develop some sort of "multiple personalities" behaviour and habits.
There's "normal A" me, who goes to work every day, using the same route, checking the same webpages on route, doing the same web searches while at work, sending the same type of messages on IM during the day, etc, etc.
Then there's another me, "normal B", with his own habits and hobbies. But normal A and normal B should not overlap in terms of devices, friends, maybe even (online) behaviour. Location is bit more difficult, especially when you're at home. Home should be associated with only one "persona".
Once you make a conscious effort it might become easier with time, and thus hiding your real "identity".
Drawbacks?... Well, sounds bit like DID (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociative_identity_disorder), so don't get caught accidentally :)
How many people can we get to take out some sort of loyalty card which tracks your behaviour and then use it to buy only root vegetables and lube?
Logitech makes web-cams, would you hold them responsible if you found them hidden in hotel rooms and they were put there based on request by the CIA?
Let us hold the right people responsible. That will mean Apple, HTC, Samsung, RIM etc.
I would direct my anger at the hotel who I have a contract and relationship with.
That argument was exploded in the whole WP7 update catastrophe earlier this year. Carriers blocked the WP7 updates.
If it's active - its going to leave a huge huge mark.
1. The reference is found in a 2 year old version of iOS.
2. "IQAgent" sounds like things Apple could name, e.g.: I've seen no evidence that this has anything to do with CarrierIQ. There's been no disassembly (unless I missed it) so it quite possibly could simply be the fact that at one point Apple used the two letters "IQ" in an obscure file.
3. People watch the data iPhones transmit pretty closely, I know I have on occasion watched iOS devices talking to the cloud. If "every keystroke, every SMS" were being logged, I'd think people would have more than just a filename to go on.
4. As mentioned it seems this file is not used outside of diagnostic mode, which makes this much ado about nothing at this point.
I think its fine to be suspicious, but these things really should be approached with some objective detachment until actual transmission of user data that shouldn't happen is uncovered.
I don't know how many of the points above apply to the "indications" in android as well, but I think we should have more neutral, unemotional, and detached coverage of it as well.
I think spying on people is bad, and I think that americans are spied on more today than ever before. I think that's also why we have to be really careful about reporting it.
Edit: Deleted a digression that pointed out that the government is including language in recent legislation that allows them to collect data about us that previously would have been illegal. This was a distraction from my main point.
It's Carrier IQ stuff. See chpwn's frequently updating blog post at: http://blog.chpwn.com/post/13572216737
However, there definitely could be something else going on there: I do not want to rule out any possibilities here, many people are very touchy about privacy issues like this.
That said, you've done very good work, and made a very valuable contribution to consumers.
The fact that those files contain a reference to http://collector.sky.carrieriq.com establishes a definite link to CarrierIQ, even if it doesn't actually run and send logs.
And I imagine some of their employees' minds might now be filling with thoughts about how to justify what they do, or to discount the need for anyone to make a big deal about what they do.
Will consumers care about what's booting when they turn on their phone, or what connections their phones are making? This will be very interesting.
Turns out there is a default and it defaults to being turned off. You can immediately tap next and Diagnostics will be turned off.
Here is the exact text:
Don’t Send (selected option)
Help Apple improve its products and services by automatically sending anonymous diagnostic and usage data.
About Diagnostics & Usage (this is a link)
Here is the text behind the link:
Apple would like your help to improve the quality and performance of its products and services. Your device can automatically collect diagnostic and usage information and send it to Apple for analysis — but only with your explicit consent.