updated 09:10 pm EST, Wed November 23, 2011
Company apologizes to security researcher
Software maker Carrier IQ has reversed its stance regarding a security researcher, Trevor Eckhart, who criticized the company's mobile tracking utilities. The company issued a press release formally withdrawing its cease-and-desist demands and apologizing to Eckhart and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which vowed to defend him in court if the conflict intensified.
The researcher recently wrote about Carrier IQ's tracking software, which was found to run on many Android handsets sold through carriers such as Sprint. The analysis outlined observations about the utilities' theoretical capabilities, such as keystroke logging, and claimed it was running on many devices without user consent.
Carrier IQ general counsel Joseph Dullea sent cease-and-desist letter that threatened Eckhart with a lawsuit for allegedly making false statements and violating copyrights for reposting training documents, which were publicly available on the company's own website.
Rather than comply with the request and issue an apology, Eckhart forwarded the letter to the EFF. The organization agreed to defend him, arguing that the threats were "completely baseless" and "sheltered by both the fair use doctrine and the First Amendment."
"Our action was misguided and we are deeply sorry for any concern or trouble that our letter may have caused Mr. Eckhart," Carrier IQ said in its follow-up statement. "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."
Carrier IQ claims it is looking forward to a "healthy and robust discussion" with the EFF and welcomes additional feedback from developers. [via AndroidCentral]