Mobile operators offer reassurances over mobile privacy

Topic: Esendex, Industry News

Following revelations this week which suggest that some Smartphones may be running ‘secret’ apps that track mobile phone activity – including emails and SMS messages – leading Australian mobile companies have swiftly moved to reassure customers that their data is safe.Telstra, Optus and Virgin Mobile have all confirmed that data on their devices was safe.A Telstra spokesperson told that “We do not track customers’ phone usage other than for the purposes of connecting a call or billing for services.”Similar statements were made by both Optus and Virgin Mobile.The clarification comes following the revelation that Android based Smartphones, such as those produced by the likes of HTC and Samsung, may be running a ‘rootkit’ app that conceals its presence and can monitor user activity.The discovery was made by Trevor Eckhart, an Android security researcher. In a youtube video he shows how an entire SMS message was recorded by the software developed by Carrier IQ’s app. The company claims that the app is nothing more than a ‘diagnostic tool,’ built to measure carrier and handset performance – but there are privacy concerns around the device because it could potentially be used to store user information.Australian mobile companies are keen to stress that they do not hold any information on their customers. Text messages you send and text messages you receive – be it from friends or businesses – remain private and confidential.It should also be noted that when it comes to receiving text messages from businesses, SMS providers are heavily regulated in Australia under a code developed by ACMA (The Australian Communications and Media Authority).

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