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Summary:

Verizon Wireless, the country’s largest mobile operator and Android device seller, does not install Carrier IQ’s keystroke-sniffing software in any of its phones and doesn’t use the now-controversial company’s data in way, company officials said. Now we wait for the other operators to sound off.

Master Lock

The largest mobile operator in the U.S. does not install Carrier IQ’s keystroke-sniffing software in any of its phones and doesn’t use the now-controversial company’s data in any way, Verizon Wireless officials said on Thursday.

“Any report that Verizon Wireless uses Carrier IQ is patently false,” Verizon Wireless spokesperson Jeffrey Nelson said in an email. In an email follow-up, spokeswoman Debra Lewis elaborated. “We did recently notify customers about new privacy programs; we were transparent about how customer information will be used and gave clear choices to customers about whether they want to participate in these programs,” she said (the privacy policy is here). “Carrier IQ is not involved in these programs.”

The recent discovery by Android developer Trevor Eckhart of Carrier IQ’s “rootkit” that tracks every action a user makes on Android phones has raised all kinds of questions about whether operators, handset makers and other wireless industry players are collecting reams of data on their customers. The app runs hidden and constantly at the lowest level of the Android operating system, apparently tracking every input. There seems to be no way of uninstalling or disabling it without installing a different version of Android; something most won’t know how to do. There’s even evidence of Carrier IQ code in the iPhone, though according the chpwn blog it appears to be disabled in newer iOS devices. Earlier, Kevin Tofel wrote about how to detect Carrier IQ on your rooted Android phone.

Verizon’s disavowal of the technology is significant because of the sheer volume of Android smartphones in its subscriber base. While T-Mobile USA was the first operator to launch an Android device, Verizon became a heavy backer of the Google platform as it sought to counter AT&T’s initial U.S. monopoly of the iPhone. At the end of the third quarter, Verizon had 33.6 million smartphone subscribers, the large majority of which use Android devices.

We queried the other three national operators as well, but are still waiting to hear back from them. We’ll update you as soon as we hear, though. Meanwhile, a Rogers spokesperson posted on Twitter that the Canadian operator did not have Carrier IQ installed on its customer devices. MocoNews reported that U.K. operators Vodafone (one of Verizon Wireless’ parents) and O2 both denied collecting any customer info with Carrier IQ, while both Nokia and Google said that did not use Carrier IQ’s software on any of their phones (which in Google’s case means Nexus devices; not all Android phones).

Image courtesy of Flickr user kreg.steppe

  1. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/p1zqS5lU >> That’s one down, waiting on replies from the others

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  2. [DocDocc] Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/T1KP0UZF via gigaOM

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  3. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/tZRAJAnR

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  4. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way: Verizon Wireless, the country’s largest mobile operator and Android device seller… http://t.co/saJY5RQQ

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  5. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/JhYYuYuH @amarchugg #news

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  6. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/48mOylon @amarchugg #news

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  7. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way: The largest mobile operator in the U.S. does not install CarrierIQ’s keystroke-sn… http://t.co/l0MVD4fy

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  8. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/W1Hrcbcw

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  9. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/4ehECuJU

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  10. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/7uN72cPA

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  11. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/QWLGJOVL

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  12. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/SyFcIXPS

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  13. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/KWOZdE6x

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  14. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/cHQm7MGz

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  15. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/KXE8mRXB

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  16. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/D4TYTKIS

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  17. RT @gigaom: Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/KWOZdE6x

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  18. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way: The largest mobile operator in the U.S. does not install CarrierIQ’s keystroke-sn… http://t.co/rWbXhsrs

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  19. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/TPYa73gJ

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  20. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way: The largest mobile operator in the U.S. does not install CarrierIQ’s keystroke-sn… http://t.co/1IBvSe7Z

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  21. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way: The largest mobile operator in the U.S. does not install CarrierIQ’s keystroke-sn… http://t.co/jhyoMsdZ

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  22. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way: The largest mobile operator in the U.S. does not install CarrierIQ’s keystroke-sn… http://t.co/pm9zTiqe

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  23. gigaom: Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/fLZBD24D

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  24. RT @gigaom: Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/KWOZdE6x

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  25. Interesting. Would have naturally thought they were all for this. “@gigaom: Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/KYyZpM5D”

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  26. RT @gigaom: Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/WuYARcYa < good example of taking the high ground, and quickly.

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  27. So if no one is using Carrier IQ who is holding the smoking gun? http://deadzones.com

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  28. [GigaOM] Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way: The largest mobile operator in the U.S. does not install CarrierIQ’s key… http://t.co/ZT7xezug

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  29. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way: The largest mobile operator in the U.S. does not install CarrierIQ’s key… http://t.co/1qDOkPuF #privacy

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  30. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/oKT7traT via Kevin Fitchard

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  31. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/Tz4m2zlZ #BYOD

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  32. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/S7G84pZN #BYOD

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  33. RT @chuckhollis: RT @gigaom: Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/WuYARcYa < good example of taking the high ground, and quickly.

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  34. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/nTsd2fg1

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  35. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/TLbLHedS

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  36. RT @gigaom Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/VAkRdWbp

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  37. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way: Verizon Wireless, the country’s largest mobile operator and Android device seller… http://t.co/bsXgao76

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  38. RT @gigaom: Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/KWOZdE6x

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  39. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/iSkUAqhP

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  40. #Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/hDEfAMyP @om #mobile

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  41. Looking at you, @ATT RT @kfitchard Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/uQ53iZ9N >> That’s one down, waiting on replies from the others

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  42. RT @jkOnTheRun: Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/iSkUAqhP

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  43. RT @gigaom: Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/KWOZdE6x

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  44. RT @gigaom: Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/KWOZdE6x

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  45. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/D4ZXvqTf

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  46. Wow! @steppek one of your images are in use in an article on http://t.co/gRvwNwE4

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  47. RT @MikeWills: Wow! @steppek one of your images are in use in an article on http://t.co/gRvwNwE4

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  48. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/c9RtsGPK

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  49. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way – Verizon Wireless, the country’s largest mobile operator and Android device seller, d… http://t.co/GajRgW4g

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  50. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way – Verizon Wireless, the country’s largest mobile operator and Android device seller, d… http://t.co/jExDN7cD

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  51. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/QGFH1Ece

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  52. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way: The largest mobile operator in the U.S. does not install CarrierIQ’s keystroke-sn… http://t.co/jIi7sUcu

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  53. GigaOM | Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way: http://t.co/sqt5SJiA

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  54. Verizon says Carrier IQ is not on any of their cell phones. http://t.co/9jdIb9Bp

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  55. RT @fbihop: Verizon says Carrier IQ is not on any of their cell phones. http://t.co/9jdIb9Bp

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  56. RT @fbihop: Verizon says Carrier IQ is not on any of their cell phones. http://t.co/OD8g6Yr6

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  57. #apple Verizon Disavows Use of Carrier IQ: Kevin Fitchard, reporting for GigaOm:

    “Any report that Verizon Wi… http://t.co/Xt45uePi

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  58. Verizon disavows CarrierIQ. Read between lines… “We use something else equally evil to track our customers.” http://t.co/yP6MgJzJ

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  59. RT @fbihop: Verizon says Carrier IQ is not on any of their cell phones. http://t.co/9jdIb9Bp

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  60. Verizon Disavows Use of Carrier IQ: Kevin Fitchard, reporting for GigaOm:

    “Any report that Verizon Wireless … http://t.co/WsTuMAOS

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  61. Verizon Disavows Use of Carrier IQ: Kevin Fitchard, reporting for GigaOm:

    “Any report that Verizon Wireless … http://t.co/786Zf7Iw

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  62. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way: While T-Mobile USA was the first operator to launch an Android device, Verizon be… http://t.co/FFsgNsov

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  63. Verizon Disavows Use of Carrier IQ http://t.co/ZLk6hlQ9

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  64. Good news for Verizon customers: VZ doesn’t use the CarrierIQ snooping software: http://t.co/ZUPURFO5. (AT&T users, well…)

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  65. Seems some say no CarrierIq running on them.
    UK http://t.co/WM7VXLTx
    RIM BBerry http://t.co/KlrUb0Qg (fux news!)
    VZON http://t.co/FC6DPKCI

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  66. @kensan31 Verizon said “no way”. http://t.co/OE0V7ILh Not that I would trust a carrier anyway.

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  67. Verizon Disavows Use of Carrier IQ: Kevin Fitchard, reporting for GigaOm: “Any report that Verizon Wireless uses… http://t.co/n9dMmf0k

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  68. Verizon Disavows Use of Carrier IQ: Kevin Fitchard, reporting for GigaOm: “Any report that… http://t.co/Ne3sGNqB

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  69. Verizon Disavows Use of Carrier IQ http://t.co/cBZVd9YK No weasel words? “gave clear choices to customers” = EULA CYA @gruber

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  70. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way — Tech News and Analysis http://t.co/Nwk5AMjB

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  71. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way — Tech News and Analysis http://t.co/zDQ4eJWB

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  72. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way — Tech News and Analysis http://t.co/nFggy9Sl

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  73. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way — Tech News and Analysis http://t.co/dBnWfEeB

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  74. RT @magicofpi: Good news for Verizon customers: VZ doesn’t use the CarrierIQ snooping software: http://t.co/ZUPURFO5. (AT&T users, well…)

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  75. On the flip side, unless you opt-out, Verizon uses Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) packet-snoopers to compile your browsing history on non-SSL websites, and sells it to partners. They can’t sniff out HTTPS/SSL requests the way CarrierIQ is alleged to do, but it still is pretty creepy.

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    1. Kevin Fitchard Sunday, December 4, 2011

      Hi Fazal, thanks for commenting. I agree with you that operators can do that, but do they? My understanding is the wireless operators know more about you than your own mother, but they can’t use that info because of privacy concerns. They can’t even use much of that info to market to their own customers.

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      1. I think the biggest point he was making was all of them track information to an extent, I would focus it more on CIQ rather than the providers. Verizon tracks information but does it internally so it never gets out. Its funny how it took ATT for people to forget what crap verizon was for years.

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  76. DF Verizon Disavows Use of Carrier IQ http://t.co/8z4iDCnp

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  77. DF Verizon Disavows Use of Carrier IQ http://t.co/8z4iDCnp

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  78. Verizon: No Carrier IQ, No way: The largest mobile operator in the U.S. does not install Carrier IQ’s keystroke-… http://t.co/qF3dlTMw

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  79. Verizon: No Carrier IQ, No way http://t.co/5q7Om9NA

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  80. Verizon: No Carrier IQ, No way | http://t.co/iqlgPY4U

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  81. Verizon Disavows Use of Carrier IQ http://t.co/ZXkCRu0p – soon we’ll hear other similar statements but carriers are missing the bigger pict…

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  82. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way: 1, 2011, 8:44am PT 2 Comments The largest mobile operator in the US does not inst… http://t.co/fioTL111

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  83. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/GAmG3A6Y

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  84. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way — Tech News and Analysis http://t.co/TEtyCAlt

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  85. Verizon: No Carrier IQ, No way — Tech News and Analysis: Verizon Wireless, the country’s largest mobile operator… http://t.co/YcqZjv6d

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  86. Ummm, yeah…my Droid X from Verizon definitely has the software installed. So is Motorola to blame or Verizon?

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    1. My Verizon Droid X does not appear to have this rootkit installed, so I’m not blaming anyone. I’ll have to look into the Deep Packet Inspection item, though.

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  87. Verizon: No CarrierIQ, No way http://t.co/ZS1i50f8 via @zite

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  88. Verizon Disavows Use of Carrier IQ http://t.co/XBWiQg2o … One check for Verizon, not so for AT&T & Sprint

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  89. Those of you who think just buying an i-phone or updating your OS is a fix, need to listen up. ALL CELL PHONES are tracked, and anything on them can be using against you so long as the phone is connected to a “network”. The “cell” in cell phone refers to the towers themselves­­, to guarantee quality of service your provider needs to know where your device is at all times, so ALL CELL PHONES “smart” and “dumb” are tracked. Recent news mentioned a device called the stingray that can be used like a “portable cell tower” to find your phone wherever it is.

    Now the tricky part is how exposed are you? To answer that you need to consider how “smart” your phone actually is? Does it have GPS? Does it have internet access? Does it have a camera? Does it have expanded capabiliti­­es to run applicatio­­ns? Well… Since it is connected to an active network, not only can the cell phone service provider locate you down to a few feet thanks to the GPS but so can a jealous partner or employer with software available online, an applicatio­­n designer / owner, a tech savvy computer geek, or someone with the monopoly of power like government­­, can use everything on that device that you can and more. Find us on facebook under “caged ideas LLC” for more informatio­­n and a patented solution.

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  90. Attn all my fellow smart phone users! The interwebs are ablaze this week with news of a company known as “Carrier… http://t.co/7XuyY8AF

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  91. Seems that Verizon doesn’t install CarrierIQ, apparently. http://t.co/eXuwe4vY (via @julian0liver) amazing, everybody is so innocent, angels

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  92. @Slate Verizon: No Carrier IQ, No way http://t.co/1cOJxBkz

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  93. Verizon: No Carrier IQ, No way http://t.co/DnW4H2qH

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  94. Did anyone note that they denied using that company but say they have OTHER programs to track statistics? I wasnt notified of that. Also, do you folks realize that a bluetooth stealth program can be purchased that alows you to target anyones bluetooth enabled phone and be cloned into theirs? Not only can you watch and listen—you can call from their phone to others! You can turn on their speaker and listen to whats happening even iftheir phone is off. $49 bucks all over the net. We are SHEEP, being herded wherever they want .

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  95. Jo Ann Milligan Monday, December 19, 2011

    I can just imagine how effectively VERIZON NOTIFIED USERS of either changes in their privacy policy or users’ability to opt out of VERIZON’S equivalent spyware version to CarrierIQ. Hah!

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