Carrier IQ drops legal threat against security researcher

Carrier IQ drops legal threat against security researcher
Carrier IQ apologizes for baseless threats, but defends its practices.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) came to the defence of security researcher Trevor Eckhart after he received legal threats from Carrier IQ, a mobile software company.

Eckhart had published an analysis of the company's software, and also posted training materials provided by the company for his audience to download. Eckhart pointed out that Carrier IQ's software logs a great deal of information about users' activities without their knowledge.

The software in question is pre-installed on some Android handsets (reportedly mostly on the Sprint network) and Eckhart reported it was capable of recording a great deal of user activities. In response, Carrier IQ sent a cease and desist demand (PDF) to Eckhart, claiming he made false allegations against the company, and infringed its copyright.

The EFF contacted Carrier IQ through a letter, citing protection of Eckhart's research and commentary under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As for posting the training materials, EFF argued it was "classic fair use" of a copyrighted work for research purposes.

On Wednesday, Carrier IQ released a statement.

"As, of today, we are withdrawing our cease and desist letter to Mr. Trevor Eckhart. We have reached out to Mr. Eckhart and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to apologize. Our action was misguided and we are deeply sorry for any concern or trouble that our letter may have caused Mr. Eckhart. We sincerely appreciate and respect EFF's work on his behalf, and share their commitment to protecting free speech in a rapidly changing technological world."

The same press release assures the public that Carrier IQ software does not record keystrokes, that the company does not provide tracking software, that its software does not inspect or report any content of communications (e-mails, SMS etc.), that it does not provide real-time data reporting to any customer and that the company does not sell data to any third party.

Instead, according to the press release, its software identifies dropped calls and poor service, identifies problems with battery life, quickly identifies trending problems to mobile networks to contain any spread and makes customer service quicker, more accurate, and more efficient.

Written by: James Delahunty @ 24 Nov 2011 5:52
Carrier IQ
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