The Electronic Frontier Foundation Asks For Carrier IQ Profiles, Plans to Build Database

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is asking for help in gathering 'profiles' used by the controversial smartphone monitoring software produced by Carrier IQ.

The EFF's Peter Eckersley is asking users around the world to find the Carrier IQ 'profile,' which determines precisely what the Carrier IQ software can and can't monitor on that handset, and submit them for analysis.

"Profiles are files that are typically written by Carrier IQ Inc. to the specifications of a phone company or other client, and pushed to the phone by Carrier IQ Inc. using its own command and control infrastructure," Eckersley explains. "Profiles contain instructions about what data to collect, how to aggregate it, and where to send it.

"To create transparency for the public that has been monitored by the more intrusive variants of this software, we will need a comprehensive library of these Profiles, and to know which ones were pushed to which phones at what times. Profiles are stored in different locations in different versions of the Carrier IQ software, and in many cases, a phone may need to be jailbroken or rooted before the profile can be extracted."

While Carrier IQ has denied claims that it snoops on smartphone users via in-built 'keylogger' technology, and has repeatedly claimed that its software is benign and used merely for mobile carriers to troubleshoot issues experienced by their customers, many still view the software with suspicion.

The profiles, which are stored in an obfuscated format mixing binary data and human-readable Forth code, have been reverse engineered by EFF volunteer Jered Wierzbicki, who has produced a program to decode the files and present their content in human-readable form.

Full details of the EFF's efforts to monitor the use of Carrier IQ's software are available on the official website.