Carrier IQ references found in iOS

Updated at bottom

Earlier tonight, iPhone hacker Chpwn tweeted what appears to be the first discovery of Carrier IQ involvement in Apple’s mobile OS.

The Carrier IQ story has until now focused entirely on Android, Nokia and Blackberry devices, however Chpwn has discovered references to servers operated by Carrier IQ in a binary called /usr/bin/IQAgent in iOS 3.1.3.

In addition, a MacRumors forum poster has found references to Carrier IQ in iOS 4.0+, though under a different name. Instructions for disabling the system are also given at the above forum link.

Chpwn later confirmed that the same file was still present in iOS 5.0+.

What is not yet clear is how and when the Carrier IQ system is enabled on iOS, if at all, and what exactly it is being used for. Chpwn suggested in a later tweet that the system may be disabled by default.

Carrier IQ itself issued a press release (PDF warning) November 16th attempting to calm fears of spying and wiretapping.

However, earlier today Forbes cited Paul Ohm, a former Justice Department prosecutor, in suggesting that Carrier IQ’s software may run afoul of federal wiretapping laws:

If CarrierIQ has gotten the handset manufactures to install secret software that records keystrokes intended for text messaging and the Internet and are sending some of that information back somewhere, this is very likely a federal wiretap.

And that gives the people wiretapped the right to sue and provides for significant monetary damages.

Apple has yet to comment on the situation.

Update 1: Chpwn has written a blog post about the situation, stating that testing so far reveals that the system is disabled by default, however log files containing diagnostic data from the Carrier IQ daemon were found. Chpwn believes that text entered into the iOS device is not being collected at all, but investigation is ongoing.

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