updated 08:10 pm EST, Tue November 22, 2011
Researcher threatened for publicizing discovery
Software company Carrier IQ has reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to Android security researcher Trevor Eckhart, threatening him with legal action for publicly questioning the company's covert tracking tools. The letter claims Eckhart is violating copyrights by reposting Carrier IQ training materials, which are also available to all visitors at the company's website.
The researcher is also accused of making "unsubstantiated allegations" about the company's mobile software, which is used by a number of different carriers and handset makers to track user activity. The software is marketed as a tool for improving the user experience.
Eckhart's closer inspection of the software and training materials suggests the tools may have a deeper level of tracking capability, while running in some cases without the user's explicit consent to share such information. The tools are said to be able to monitor app usage and installation, key input and location, while tying data to an IMEI number that could theoretically be used to identify the specific user.
Carrier IQ demands that Eckhart remove his post regarding the technology and issue a press release apologizing for "misrepresenting the capabilities of their products." It remains unclear if the letter is a baseless threat or if the company is actually willing to take the issue to court. [via TechCrunch]