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  (Source: twobeatsapart.com)
Intergis makes GPS tracking/telemetry products

We've wondered why amateur Android devoloper Trevor Eckhart's commentary on his "discovery" of Carrier IQ was so seemingly one side and exagerrated.  Now we've found out something interesting -- he works for a tracking firm that is a potential rival to Carrier IQ.

Carrier IQ -- installed on over 140 million phones -- even in the worst case is hardly as bad as Mr. Eckhart, along with some members of the public and the media, made it out to be in their rush to lynch the telemetry firm.  In fact my own analysis of Carrier IQ -- which included both debug logging (as in Mr. Eckhart's research) and decompilation of the Carrier IQ Android applications on an HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) device (something Mr. Eckhart did not do) -- indicated that the worst things Carrier IQ distributions were doing were largely the result of poor coding and pratices from its carrier and OEM partners.

So what led Mr. Eckhart to fail to qualify that Carrier IQ was only keylogging inside one proprietary app on a handful of HTC phones, leading many members of the media and public to mistakenly think it was keylogging passwords inside web forms and third party applications?

Mr. Eckhart, by his own accounting, works as a "Systems Administor" at a Torrington, Connecticut firm called Intergis LLC.  He describes the work as "Computer Software Industry" functions:


Intergis makes tracking and telemetry products, remarkably similar to Carrier IQ, although currently targeting corporate users.  The company's product gives businesses a way to GPS tracking to secure their mobile device fleet or coordinate employee travel.
 
At the heart of Carrier IQ's application is the same functionality -- phone GPS tracking -- that allows carriers to assess and improve their network.  Thus while Mr. Eckhart's firm markets its app to business customers only, at this point, it would be almost trivial for it to add wireless signal and battery life gathering and create a Carrier IQ competitor for the consumer market.  And if his firm does that, they likely now realize how to escape observation -- by avoiding obviously named apps and egregious prints to the debugging screen.
 
The interesting thing is that if Carrier IQ gets the boot or gets sued out of existence, it will create a vacuum in terms of telemetry gathering in the consumer space.  As a company already deeply invested in tracking and telemetry solutions, that's just the kind of thing that could allow Intergis to get its talons on the consumer market.

We'll likely never know what the true motives are, but file this under "very interesting" in the ongoing Carrier IQ saga.

Sources: Trevor Eckhart, GISCafe



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RE: I agree
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/13/2011 4:00:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I do agree that this whole thing has been a bit overblown, but when they asked the CEO at CIQ "Could you at CIQ read the information in someones SMS if you wanted to?" and his answer was "probably, yes".

So it still is a security concern for those who security/privacy matters to. Not saying they ARE reading messages and misuing information, but they certainly have the capabilities to. I don't see any reason why the contents of data transmissions would ever need to be packaged up and sent to them for telemetry data.

Oh absolutely, but your carrier already has access to this info, be aware. I seem to recall being able to go on Verizon back in the day and retrieve/view text messages I sent from my mobile device somehow. Not sure how that worked, but it was there.

Anyhow, I agree privacy matters.

I also agree with you that there's a lot of interesting points here and discussion to be had regarding Carrier IQ and all parties involved.

I think the question of the potential conflict of interest on Mr. Eckhart's part is a compelling one that needs to be examined. I'm surprised none of the big media outlets who covered this vetted Mr. Eckhart's background while publishing his claims.

I only found one site even mentioning where he worked, and they didn't clarify it was a smartphone tracking company who targeted corporate users. They just mentioned it in passing with no context.


RE: I agree
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/13/2011 4:30:54 PM , Rating: 2
RE: I agree
By 91TTZ on 12/13/2011 4:59:45 PM , Rating: 1
Why would someone put the fact that they're an Eagle Scout on an IT resume?


RE: I agree
By tlbj6142 on 12/13/2011 5:43:10 PM , Rating: 2
I see this on resumes all the time. What's the deal? How is it any different than listing "semi-professional baseball player" on your resume? It is a talking point for the interviewer to ask non-work questions....


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