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Are Your HTC Sensation and EVO 3D Watching You?

Privacy concerns have been a hot topic as of late. Whether it’s Google, Apple or Verizon, consumers and our government is cracking down on what kind of information our smartphones are sharing without our consent. Now, it’s time to turn our attention to HTC who may have added a little something “extra” with the latest Gingerbread OTA that was recently rolled out to the Sensation and Evo 3D.

Apparently, a common Sense system app called CIQ added a brand new feature with the latest OTA called “User Behavior Logging.” According to TrevE on XDA who discovered this new function, the sneaky little app is recording your every move. Everything from logging your installed apps, to the amount of time spent on each app, every open intent and even the dreaded location information, among other data. The CIQ app isn’t the only guilty party either. There are hidden “features” in the framework as well, logging some of this info as well. The gathered information is sent to the cloud where HTC or some other company uses it for their purposes. Here’s some of the code being sent:

1 = ("com.htc.feedback", "feedback_usageOpt")
2 = ("com.android.browser", "user_action")
3 = ("com.android.htccontacts", "contact_type")
4 = ("com.android.htccontacts", "group_info")
5 = ("com.android.mms", "message_send")
6 = ("com.android.mms", "message_receive")
7 = ("com.android.mms", "message_count")
8 = ("com.android.phone", "user_action")
9 = ("com.android.phone", "settings_quietRing")
10 = ("com.android.phone", "settings_pocketMode")
11 = ("com.android.phone", "settings_flipForSpeaker")
12 = ("com.android.phone", "edit_b4_call")
13 = ("com.futuredial", "transfer_data")
14 = ("com.htc.album", "storage")
15 = ("com.htc.android.htcime", "press_duration")
16 = ("com.htc.android.htcime", "UDB_words")
17 = ("com.htc.android.htcime", "special_correction")
18 = ("com.htc.android.htcime", "WCL_cnt")
19 = ("com.htc.android.htcime", "duration_SIP")
20 = ("com.htc.android.htcime", "lang_key")
21 = ("com.htc.android.htcime", "voice_key")
22 = ("com.htc.android.htcime", "set_CIME")
23 = ("com.htc.android.htcime", "duration_SIP")
24 = ("com.htc.android.htcime", "user_action")
25 = ("com.htc.android.htcime", "waiting_time")
26 = ("com.htc.android.htcime", "fuzzy_pinYin")
27 = ("com.htc.android.htcsetupwizard", "is_sysTimeChanged")
28 = ("com.htc.android.htcsetupwizard", "feedback_usageOpt")
29 = ("com.htc.android.mail", "mail_count")
30 = ("com.htc.android.mail", "update_schedule")
31 = ("com.htc.android.mail", "default_mailsize")
32 = ("com.htc.android.mail", "widget_clickcount")
33 = ("com.htc.android.mail", "EAS_success")
34 = ("com.htc.launcher", "layout")
35 = ("com.htc.launcher", "scene")
36 = ("com.htc.launcher", "user_action")
37 = ("com.htc.launcher", "app_launch")
38 = ("com.htc.launcher", "leap_view")
39 = ("com.htc.launcher", "skin_picker")
40 = ("com.htc.music", "storage")
41 = ("device_status", "battery")
42 = ("device_status", "battery_low")
43 = ("device_status", "bluetooth")
44 = ("download_manager", "download")
45 = ("system_server", "application_launch")
46 = ("system_server", "activity_launch_history")
47 = ("system_server", "MRU_click")
48 = ("system_server", "activity_tabCount")
49 = ("system_server", "tab_index")
50 = ("system_server", "app_uninstalled")
51 = ("system_server", "launcher_downloaded")

Before you get up in arms over this invasion of privacy, according to HTC, you agreed to this. Simply jump into your device Settings > About Phone > Legal > HTC Legal. If you’re the paranoid type (or simply value your privacy) TrevE and Team Synergy have successfully managed to remove the app and code from the framework and provided a ROMs sans spyware. Unfortunately, ROM flashing and the removing of system apps is only for rooted users. What do you guys think of this? No big deal or (Ricky Ricardo voice) does HTC have some ‘splaining to do?

[Via XDA and InfectedROM]

Continue reading on the HTC EVO 3D forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.

Continue reading on the HTC Sensation 4G forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.




  • Spoken Word™

    Is this something separate from the Tell HTC software under the “About phone” section or is it a component of it? And just as a side note the current version of Sense also stores your text messages and restores them to your phone if you switch or hard reset your device.

  • xRand0mx

    Yet another reason to root.

    • cowgar

      yet another reason for CyanogenMod…

  • tokinotabumblb

    Yeah I’m not taking my phone with me to the bathroom when I shower anymore….perv. O_o

    • Daniel Cabrera

      lol same here, they probably watch while we shower….

      • tokinotabumblb

        And take snapshots…..lol OMG.

        • YamiYaiba

          In 3D!

          • tokinotabumblb

            Even worse! Lol

          • Patrick Moody

            Just what you don’t need seeing coming from the screen towards you…

            Switch it to 2D!!! Switch it to 2D!!!

  • Dan Ehresman

    Before you guys flip out there is a new feature in Sense that allows for direct feedback on the phone to HTC for troubleshooting. It also sends crash reports if you let it if your phone has a abnormal reboot.

  • Jaymoon

    If you read deep enough at the source article, they explain this was added since the 2.3.4 update. Really makes you think twice about accepting updates from HTC…

  • YamiYaiba

    We’re all so paranoid about “privacy” but I’d rather have a user experience based on collected data than bad corporate assumptions.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. =)

      Or worse yet, SURVEYS *shudder*

      • shabbypenguin

        im going to reply to your comment in hopes that you migth see it.. your info is all wrong, sure some of this new stuff is htc only.. CIQ is on EVERY sprint android phone save the nexus.. please read k0nane’s comment as he was teh first to take care of it

    • Christopher Suits

      Yeah collecting data to enhance user experience is what it is now, but what happens down the road? What if they decide to become more invasive?

      And another problem, and this is what I personally have a problem with. CIQ is running in the background 100%, and that takes up system resources, and affects battery life.

      Glad there was ROMs built for the Epic that removed CIQ a long time ago.

  • http://Google Raul

    I put coredroid rom on the sensation would that take care of that CIQ crap. Fucking HTC they think there slick. thank God for XDA for given up the info.

  • No_Nickname90

    I don’t mind Google knowing errthing about me, even though they don’t know it’s “me”. (That’s not some joke of any kind either)

    But HTC? I’m sorry, I don’t know you. I wouldn’t wanting you taking any info from me.

    I don’t know about this. I was just thinking about getting the Sensation. I think I’d stick to giving the feedbacks from crashes, or just pick up the Nexus Prime when that comes out.

  • blue720

    Wow. I mean what is the purpose of doing this? Could it be OEM or carrier related? Or better yet, gov’t. related?

  • squiddy20

    I would just like to point out that CIQ (Carrier IQ) is nothing new and not HTC exclusive. It’s been found in devices as old as the Samsung Moment (which I currently have) and as powerful as the Samsung Epic. Just fyi.

    • http://twitter.com/fredacampos fredacampos

      Exactly. Carrier IQ has been reported here months ago. It’s a carrier data collection service, that is turned off by default. And it was detected on Samsung phones first.

  • james

    I can’t believe people these days thinking this is ok are you kidding me especially to the guy saying its ok if Google knows everything about me what ? No none of these companies have the right to invade our privacies but because of people like you they do. It’s so sad. Htc better take this off

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYDN3R6PNRIL2GMGL6YLIIKW7U Eric

      IN ADDITION TO MY ABOVE POSTING… I JUST WANT TO SAY I WOULD GIVE ALL THE MONEY I POSSESS TO HAVE BEEN A FLY ON THE WALL IN THE MOST RECENT “MARKET DOMINATOR” GATHERING…

      OOOHH YOU HAVE NOT HEARD —–> OBAMA, A BUNCH OF CORPORATE PROGRESSIVES, BILL GATES, STEVE JOBS, FEW OTHERS (AGAIN DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK) RECENTLY MET BEHIND CLOSED DOORS…. HMMMMM…

  • sip2

    this sounds really bad.

  • phonejunkie

    Chris, this was strange timing for this. My 3D has been acting very strange, and I believe it’s a direct result of these IQ agents.

    Lately when I swipe to unlock my phone, it will go to the home screen like normal, and then, my phone on it’s own starts to press different apps and open them. If using the browser, it will highlight different areas, and open new pages. When texting it will type on its own.

    It’s just saving and storing my screen presses and then, performing them on it’s own. Very strange and very annoying. It’s like someone is standing behind me touching the screen.

    • afazel

      It’s more likely an issue with your touch sensor. Or, if you’re rooted and using a different kernel, it could be directly related to that. I used to have similar issues with my Evo 4G.

  • George Carrillo

    why are you libs so worried about privacy?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYDN3R6PNRIL2GMGL6YLIIKW7U Eric

      BECAUSE REAL LIFE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO PRISON FOR THEIR HUMAN RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH

  • Itchy_Robot

    This has become ridiculous. Corporations always try to get away with more and more until the government is forced to step in … then everyone asks, “why is the government involved”. Well, if these companies would stop being so sneaky, people could make sound judgement when purchasing products. I can guarantee you that if these phone companies were forced to put stickers on their retail space noting that personal information is being obtained and sold to 3rd party advertisement and statistical companies, people would stop buying them. But, until they are forced to, they are going to continue to get away with it simply because you signed and failed to read their 402 page ‘cover our ass in a court of law’ agreement.

    I own an Incredible now. But, unless I hear HTC has changed their policy, I refuse to buy another phone from them. Do the Nexus phones have this built in too?

    • shabbypenguin

      no, and not all carriers have it. sprint phones do

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYDN3R6PNRIL2GMGL6YLIIKW7U Eric

      JUST SO ALL YOU GUYS HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT… THE GOV’T IS THE NUMBER ONE SUBSIDIARY PROVIDER TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANIES AND MAINLY THE FCC… DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK… ITS RATHER VERY BORING YET IN BLACK AND WHITE SHOWING “IN YOUR FACE” INDISPUTABLE PROOF BACKDOORS ARE BUILT INTO YOUR PHONE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER SINCE EARLY 1999… courtesy of your government… YET A FEW YEARS AGO I WAS A NUTCASE…

  • http://www.facebook.com/enigma69 John Wentworth

    I think we need to keep an eye on programs like this, but at the moment is seems to just be collecting usage information and errors and backing up text messages, the text message backup is a little suspect, but otherwise I don’t see a problem yet, let them learn how to make a better phone by watching my usage. I have an HTC Thunderbolt so I assume this will be installed when we get our gingerbread OTA
    it’s probably already running since I’m running a GB Leak.
    Let’s keep an eye of what this program sends, but lets not freak out and say, OMG I’m never buying HTC again, I think the posts are right, all kinds of phones have this

  • Beth

    I’m a little upset about this, there’s no way to decline reporting so it’s sitting there eating resources and monitoring my every move and there’s nothing I can do about it except root. My opinion of HTC fluctuates a lot; they unlock bootloaders and update their phones proactively but sneak in logging… And backup SMS? No thx, I don’t need or want that. Stop cluttering my phone! Battery and crashing got WORSE after this update despite speed increases. Gaahhh

  • Trevor Eckhart

    Just so you all know, this is more than CIQ (which yes, has been around forever). its embeded in the framework in services.jar/com.htcservices.jar/framework.jar. It sends regardless of having the CIQ app or not. There is Usage Stats Service / HTC app usage stats / User Behavior Monitoring / CIQ / Tell HTC / Dropbox service all running in background. All send out to different locations.

    I wrote more up in post 2 here – http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=16158314&postcount=2

  • k0nane

    Hi, I’m k0nane, and I removed Carrier IQ on the Epic 4G – the first device from which CIQ was ever removed. Carrier IQ is /NOT/ a part of Android, Sense, or anything HTC – it’s a third-party spyware package installed on Sprint Android devices, at the behest of Sprint.

    CIQ’s exact function is controversial. I published my findings here;
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=11763089&postcount=3

    Without being a part of Sprint or Carrier IQ, I can’t ascertain its exact functions. However, having looked at the decompiled code, I can tell you that it hooks into a heck of a lot more than Sprint would ever want to admit. Its ‘metrics’ dig into every keypress, every touch of the screen, every HTTP data request, every application used, every SMS sent or received… the list goes on. A fellow developer once called it a “mutant many-legged spider”.

    I’m not familiar with the “new” functions referenced in this piece, but the ability to check users’ locations and applications used has been around at least since the implementation in EB13 on the Epic 4G.

    /x-posted to BGR/

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYDN3R6PNRIL2GMGL6YLIIKW7U Eric

    WHO SAID WE WERE LIBERAL… THE PRICE OF A PHONE DOES NOT JUSTIFY THAT… WAIT I FORGOT ONLY THE “CONSERVATIVES” DESERVE A LAVISH CORPORATE/PVT JET… AND A 5 MILLION DOLLAR BUS MADE IN CANADA DRINKING US PETRO… SUCH ABSURDNESS AND SUCH IGNORANCE…

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