Tag Archives: Modem

Carrier IQ Bits and Pieces

Some background about Carrier IQ before the hullabaloo started.

  • People had found about this before
  • Some in the industry questioned why such an expensive solution for a relatively simple problem
  • Data was available to ‘market researchers’
  • Software was installed on modems too
  • A lot of carriers were involved

This is not new. Several people have pointed this out before. This from December 2010: xda-developers – View Single Post – **warning** you can get your phone to a unrecoverable state:

On whether or not it’s possible for Sprint to dig up data after a complete Odin wipe may be debatable, but I lean toward supporting the “yes, they can” side. Sprint has been, for – as far as I can tell – a while, since the Moment at least, been including Carrier IQ in Android ROMs. Carrier IQ – which you can get more info on here (browse around there) is highly invasive, to the level of being spyware. It tracks signal data, application usage, and much else – its services and libraries are tied deeply into the system, to the point that killing just the client (not the server) will destroy the battery meter.

And this, even earlier, from a potential rival: Carrier IQ: Mobile Service Intelligence ?’s – DeadZones.com. They point out that Carrier IQ is very expensive, and has raised a lot of money, for something that is supposedly very simple (finding dropout zones). Commenters point out the pitfalls (lower battery life, data in the hands of faceless corporations):

I did not give consent for this and see the use of such software unethical. I can see no positive effect this can have for the end user. I can see many scenarios in which these corporations could heinously profit from it, though.

Back in 2008, it could claim, according to Company 2008: FierceWireless, Fierce 15 – FierceWireless, that

Carrier IQ’s client list includes Sprint and Sierra Wireless. CEO Quinlivan says the firm works with at least seven of the top 10 major OEMs. Look for the firm to increase its scale in the coming year through more vendor and carrier deals.

Huawei is a customer, not only for handsets, but also for modems: Huawei to Embed Network Diagnostic Tools into 3G Modems in 2009 says:

Announcing the partnership, Carrier IQ CEO, Mark Quinlivan, said: “These new cards will make for smoother delivery of Mobile Data services, improvements in Customer Care services, identification of network coverage gaps and increased awareness of actual user behavior.”

This from Sept 2010 Carrier IQ Powers Android Platform with Mobile Service Intelligence makes clear a number of things.

Experience = behavior for Carrier IQ, so this is not just about logging dropouts:

On-device measurement of the mobile user experience is the key to better understanding user behavior and ultimately optimizing product offerings to match market demands.

This data was not just available to the telcos. The press release also includes an unlikely end-user:

Carrier IQ enables mobile operators, device manufacturers, application developers and market researchers to improve their offerings based on direct insight into the customer experience.

As of last year, 12 leading vendors were using Carrier IQ:

Deployed on over 90M devices from 12 leading vendors worldwide, Carrier IQ is the leading provider of Mobile Service Intelligence solutions that use mobile devices to provide detailed metrics in a highly secure environment.

Broadband on a Moving Bus

I don’t know if it’s anything to do with my recent column  (probably not) about the need for flat data rates(“The Price is Wrong,” from Nov 2’s WSJ.com), but m1 of Singapore is now offering unlimited data for its mobile broadband plans. So now you can get 512 kbps for about $15 a month, 1.8 Mbps for about $25, and 3.6 Mbps for $45.

I use the 512 kbps service and frankly, it’s fast enough for me. Of course, with the island state embracing free WiFi this all becomes a bit academic at some point, but I still find it easier to crank up the Huawei modem than log in to the WiFi, and there’s something about surfing on a bus that is positively liberating. Not something I ever tried on the moving robbery carts that are buses in Jakarta, I must say.

M1 broadband

Dialer Scams And Heads In The Sand

I can’t help feeling that telephone companies and Internet Service Providers are in real danger of legal action if they don’t tackle the problem of modem dialing.

This NBC5 story from Chicago quotes a local woman as complaining about a series of weird calls to her phone company, SBC. The answer: “They didn’t know too much about it. They said, ‘Well, you might want to check with your Internet provider,'” the customer recalled. Her ISP, AOL, wasn’t any more helpful. “The person said basically there was nothing they could do; these charges were not coming from them, therefore, they can’t credit us, they can’t help us,” the customer said.

Phone companies and, to a lesser extent, ISPs, can’t stick their heads in the sand on this. They mustn’t palm off customers with stupid answers, and they must investigate themselves the companies behind these scams. If they don’t, class action suits are bound to follow.

Connect USB Gadgets To Your Network

This sounds useful, and is one of those things I would have thought was already available: a USB server. Say you’ve got a network and you want to share your USB devices with other folk on the network. At the moment you could do so, if it was a printer, or a hard-drive, but it would have to go through your computer, and things could get pretty bunged up. Keyspan reckon they have the answer: Today they will unveil their USB server in Las Vegas, which will allow users to hook up to four (Mac or Windows) USB devices — printers, hard drives, scanners, modems, etc — on a wired or wireless network for the princely sum of $130.

As they point out, it could be very useful for Wi-Fi addicts, who, like some of my home network users, like to move their laptops around a lot and don’t want to be encumbered by annoying peripherals jutting out of their USB ports.