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Sensation, EVO 3D: Is HTC Secretly Spying On Users?

Apparently, there was a little extra something in HTC’s recent Gingerbread update (v 2.3.4) for the Sensation and EVO 3D. A user over at InfectedROM was checking out the Carrier IQ (CIQ) – which usually just sends some harmless data to the carriers about the device – when he spotted an interesting nugget in the source code that suggests some User Behavior Logging.

That could mean those two phones would be capable of tracking and reporting on more detailed info, he says, such as user locations, installed applications, most used apps, open processes, and even identify who has or hasn’t rooted their phones. Meanwhile, since the CIQ works in the background, the user wouldn’t even know that the data transmission was taking place.

All this is clearly possible, but the question is – is this data actually being tracked or stored? If so, for what purpose? And for whom – HTC or the carrier? This will undoubtedly not concern everyone (those terms were agreed to, after all), but it could be really alarming for others. Which camp do you fall into? Is it no big deal, or are you unnerved about this potential for covert tracking? Weigh in.

[via BoyGenius Report]

 

UPDATE: It appears HTC has been hard at work to address this, doing their best to ease the minds of concerned users. The company has reached out to us and passed on the following tidbit:

“We’ve seen some questions about Sensation and Evo 3D and want to provide more information. HTC, like most manufacturers, has an opt-in error reporting function built in to our devices. If your phone experiences an error, you have the option of “Telling HTC” so we can make improvements to our phones. Details about this are in our privacy policy on each device and in order for data to be collected, you have to opt-in. If you do opt-in, we protect your privacy by de-identifing [sic] and encrypting the data.

HTC is committed to protecting your privacy and that means a commitment to clear opt-in/opt-out as the standard for collecting any information we need to serve you better.”

We’re not the only ones to get the response. Apparently, the Android maker also sent a similar message over to XDA Developers. For more on that, hit up Killian’s post on that here.


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Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...


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