Report says HTC too may be tracking customers

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It has been reported that the Evo 3D and Sensation smartphones from HTC could be tracking the locations of its users, which makes it the latest addition to the list of illicit tracking manufacturers which already includes manufacturers of Google’s Android, Microsoft and Apple’s iPhones. According to reports released by InfectedROM, the 2.3.4 Android update for Gingerbread released by HTC features additional software in its Carrier IQ department.
It has been said that along with the regular features of the CIQ to send to carriers the important information about a smartphone, the component version used by HTC also contains a function called User Behavior Logging which extensively tracks the smartphones. For an instance, it has been reported that the CIQ can pinpoint the location of its users, identify the applications used in the phone and even find out whether the phone has been rooted.
The research firm has gone as far as saying that the monitoring of the Evo 3D and the Sensation by HTC is used by the company to disqualify user’s claim for warranty even if the rooting of their phones did not lead to the malfunctioning of the device. However, the carriers have come out denying that the information is used in this way, stating that only limited information is stored by the software.
Jason Gertzen, a spokesman for Sprint, said that the CIQ only collects as much information as is sufficient to understand the experience of the customers with the devices on the carrier’s network and to assess the possible solutions for their problems. He said that the company cannot access the contents of the phones such as the photos, messages, videos, etc. through the software.
However, for the time being, HTC is legally bound to tamper with the CIQ, as it is covered in the terms and conditions given out by the manufacturer. Many believe that because the increasing worldwide sensitivity for tracking location data, this accusation may very likely result in HTC being dragged into court cases over violation of privacy of its users. This will add HTC to the growing list of companies such as Google, Apple and Microsoft which are already facing litigations concerning the tracking of location data on their cell phones.
Apple and Microsoft have especially borne the brunt of allegations related to mobile location tracking since spring this year. All of these companies are now facing a number of lawsuits from their users, the government’s scrutiny and criticism from a number of organizations.

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