Apple has confirmed reports that its previous generation iOS platforms support the Carrier IQ data tracking software, but the company assures that the software has been removed in most of its iOS 5 devices, such as the iPhone 4S, and that future updates are set to remove the software completely. The company follows a number of handset manufacturers and carriers that have issued statements in the past week to distance themselves from Carrier IQ.
The controversy was tipped off in late November, when an Android user began warning other users about a little known software he discovered pre-installed on handsets that could track user data. The data-collection company behind the software, Carrier IQ, then threatened legal action but has since retracted its cease-and-desist. But that got the snowball rolling with several companies having to issue clarifications, including Verizon, Vodafone, Rogers, O2, and Nokia.
Carrier IQ had allegedly inked deals with the major handset manufacturers and carriers to provide this data collection service for the purpose of diagnosing service issues, such as dropped calls, battery problems, and any other network issues to help make customer service more efficient. Reports claimed that the data collected could be as much as every keystroke, although Carrier IQ has strongly denied this.
Reliable sources from the Verge insist that the original Nexus One, Nexus S, and the most recent Galaxy Nexus as well as the Motorola XOOM tablet are all clean from the Carrier IQ software, but that there is evidence that iOS was utilizing the software. Apple has finally stepped out with their own statement as follows:
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.