HTC Sensation and EVO 3D revealed to be spying on users [updated]

First Apple, Google and Microsoft were accused of tracking user locations and now it appears HTC’s Sensation and EVO 3D smartphones are spying on their owners. According to user TrevE from InfectedROM, a recent Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread update from HTC added a little something special to the source code of Carrier IQ (CIQ), an Android component. CIQ is not new; it is part of Android and used on most devices to send data back to carriers about your smartphone. However, the source code on the EVO 3D and Sensation reportedly now has a “User Behavior Logging” function that is capable of tracking how Sensation and EVO 3D owners use their smartphones in greater detail. Read on for more.

Updated with official comment from Sprint below.

According to the report, CIQ uploads this user behavior data automatically in the background, although it is unclear if the data is sent to HTC or to the carrier. So what kind of private information can it learn about you? According to Phandroid, the new code enables CIQ to keep track of users’ locations, note what applications they have installed and how much each one is used, identify what processes users currently have open and more. TrevE thinks HTC could also use the information to detect rooted phones. As we told you during the original “Locationgate” scandals, however, you’ve already agreed to share this information.

UPDATE: The following comment was provided to BGR via email by Sprint spokesman Jason Gertzen:

Carrier IQ is used to understand what problems customers are having with our network or devices so we can take action to improve service quality.

It collects enough information to understand the customer experience with devices on our network and how to devise solutions to use and connection problems. We do not and cannot look at the contents of messages, photos, videos, etc., using this tool.

UPDATE: The following statement was provided to BGR via email by an HTC spokesperson:

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-identifying 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.

[Via Phandroid]

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