Android app tells you if Carrier IQ is on your phone--kinda

The application, called Voodoo Carrier IQ detector, was launched in the Android Market earlier today, but the developer says its results "are not reliable yet."

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
A screen capture of Voodoo Carrier IQ detector.
A screen capture of Voodoo Carrier IQ detector. Supercurio/Project Voodoo

All the controversy surrounding Carrier IQ has prompted a developer to create an application that helps Android device owners determine whether their handset is running the software.

Dubbed Voodoo Carrier IQ detector, the application, which is available in the Android Market, helps "you find out as easily as possible if your Android device hosts CarrierIQ rootkit or not." The free application is open source, and its developer, "supercurio," says he's willing to work with others "for collaboration and contributions."

But before you download the program, beware that it might not be so accurate. Supercurio admits in the app's listing that its "results are not reliable yet" and that he plans to provide several updates that will eliminate the current false positives it's generating.

Carrier IQ quickly became a target for the privacy community last month after Android researcher Trevor Eckhart exposed what he called, the company's "rootkit" running on Android-based devices. Carrier IQ's software, Eckhart argues, records keystrokes and SMS messages, among other information, and then transmits it all off the phone for use by Carrier IQ customers.

For its part, Carrier IQ has rebuffed claims that its software is a rootkit, saying instead that it's a "diagnostic tool" for carriers and is designed to "improve the quality of the network, understand device issues, and ultimately improve the user experience."

Although Android has borne the brunt of the controversy, Carrier IQ's software is running on over 130 million mobile devices worldwide, and earlier this week, iPhone hacker Chpwn revealed that the software is found in Apple's iOS, as well.

Yesterday, however, Apple told All Things Digital in a statement that it plans to remove Carrier IQ's software from iOS in a future software update.