Do you recall the privacy storm surrounding Carrier IQ after researcher Trevor Eckhart discovered it was secretly logging keystrokes and location information without notifying users as well as capturing passwords in clear text? After "Motorola cell phones are regularly phoning home" hit Hacker News, another person also tested a Motorola Photon 4G and claimed to have obtained similar results. It seems likely that other people will test their Motorola phones and a list of affected phones will emerge.
Lincoln clarified that "the Droid X2 does not use Motorola's 'Blur'/'MotoBlur user interface," which is one reason he picked that model. However his research indicates, "they've all been modified to silently send data to and/or through the Blur web-service back-end." He added, "There's no indication to the user that this is the case unless they do the sort of network capture that I did. There is no prompt to create or use a Blur user ID - the phone uses a randomly-generated Blur account for all of the behind-the-scenes activity." Please read his interesting and excellent write-up in full.
"I can think of many ways that Motorola, unethical employees of Motorola, or unauthorized third parties could misuse this enormous treasure trove of information," Lincoln wrote. "But the biggest question on my mind is this: now that it is known that Motorola is collecting this data, can it be subpoenaed in criminal or civil cases against owners of Motorola phones?"
Motorola has not officially responded to a request for comment. The company is probably hoping news about its new Moto X smartphone will drown out Lincoln's discovery. Good luck with that, Motorola. You have a lot of consumers and we want answers.
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