Now that Senator Al Franken is launching an investigation into Carrier IQ, HTC's PR team has emailed us a public statement that it isn't their fault that Carrier IQ is on HTC's phones.
Carrier IQ is required on devices by a number of U.S carriers so if consumers or media have any questions about the practices relating to, or data collected by, Carrier IQ we’d advise them to contact their carrier.
It is important to note that HTC is not a customer or partner of Carrier IQ and does not receive data from the application, the company, or carriers that partner with Carrier IQ. HTC is investigating the option to allow consumers to opt-out of data collection by the Carrier IQ application.
With the history of Sprint denying the program existed, Carrier IQ denying it can be used to collect data, and now HTC denying that it is a partner of Carrier IQ, pardon me if I'm a wee bit skeptical.
Why? Perhaps because HTC made a statement back in September that defended Carrier IQ, claiming it was benign and a part of the HTC feedback agent. Why would HTC make a statement defending a non-partner? Why didn't they just say "Carrier IQ is installed on your phones because Sprint deems it so, go bug them"? Do they not know that Google exists and searching "HTC statement on Carrier IQ" leads you to that statement? I think they're phrasing it this way because they're about to get hauled in front of the Senate.
Let's take a look at the statement – Carrier IQ is required by a number of US carriers – ok, that indicates it's carrier based (Sprint). Another line says HTC is investigating the option to allow consumers to opt-out – why would HTC investigate that option if it's Sprint's issue? Why did they state in September that you explicitly had to opt in? What does HTC's investigation entail? Calling Sprint and saying "Hey, can we quit installing this piece of spyware you had us embed into the phones we ship to you?"
HTC is not a customer or partner of Carrier IQ – perhaps CIQ might want to know that you're taking their commercial product and modifying it to work with your phones, kernels, and OS? I think they recently threatened to sue TrevE for copyright infringement, so you might want to cover your behinds.
There are multiple flat-out inconsistencies here.
Who puts Carrier IQ on the HTC EVO 3D? I believe that would be HTC. (Please, correct me if I'm wrong and Sprint has a shop of devoted elves doing this.)
Who writes the kernel and OS mods that incorporated CIQ so deep into the system you can't do anything about it without rooting the operating system and flashing a new ROM and kernel? That would be HTC. (Was that why it took them so long to release the kernel source?)
You know, I'm not a partner or associated with Smith and Wesson, but if I point their gun and shoot someone with it, it's not their fault. It's mine.
HTC didn't just slap a program on the phone that Sprint asked for – they baked that into the kernel, they slapped it everywhere they could. Is this why although the bootloader is now unlockable on the HTC EVO 3D we can't do anything with the radios? Are we stuck in S-ON because they are planning on loading Carrier IQ into the radio ROMs as soon as we manage to pry it out of the main operating system? Is that what the 4G Wimax "bug" is a taste of?
Really HTC? I mean, really (image of Seth Meyers withheld).
In the root world, we're required to submit our email address and phone info to HTC to gain bootloader access, effectively voiding our warranty should something go seriously wrong with our ROMs, but we're still denied S-OFF radio flashing access. Why not let users get full S-OFF and radio access? It's never made sense till now. Warranty is void if you unlock using HTCDev, so what would HTC care if you were able to flash an older radio that worked better for you? If you accidentally bricked your voided-warranty phone, then that could mean more cash for HTC.
Oh yeah, because they want to control that last piece so they can still shove their (I mean Sprint's) garbage (I mean Carrier IQ) down your throat.
Maybe I'm wrong and paranoid, but I've got no reason to doubt there's major collusion between these three companies and this whole "wasn't me" game is simply to confuse the issues. Sprint wants total control of your phone and its information, Carrier IQ can possibly provide that, and HTC makes it so there's no way to remove it.
There's no reason to think this type of thing isn't going on elsewhere in PhoneLand; it's just we can look at what makes our phones tick and find these programs as opposed to trusting the carrier that they're not there. Look what that trust has done for us.