MOBILE ANALYTICS FIRM Carrier IQ has withdrawn its cease and desist letter to security researcher Trevor Eckhart following intervention by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
Eckhart's research had provided a detailed analysis of the data that can be collected using Carrier IQ's software. Part of Eckhart's research included reading publicly available training documents on Carrier IQ's web site, which he then mirrored for fear of Carrier IQ taking them offline, leading to the cease and desist letter.
The EFF, which is representing Eckhart, had used the Copyright Act to good effect with Carrier IQ doing the decent thing and deciding to withdraw its cease and desist letter against Eckhart. Not only did it withdraw the letter, the firm also took the commendable step of apologising to Eckhart and the EFF.
Carrier IQ issued a statement saying, "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."
Carrier IQ also took the opportunity to say that its software does not record keystrokes, inspect or report on the content of messages including emails and text messages nor does it provide any real-time data reporting. The firm also said it does not sell data to third parties.
Being fair to Carrier IQ, it isn't the only company that provides mobile analytics software, and it was the handset makers and mobile operators that chose to load the software onto handsets. Some third party Android distributions such as Cyanogenmod claim to have removed Carrier IQ's software completely.
Credit should be given to Carrier IQ for realising that its heavy handed action was wrong. Perhaps now the firm should point the security researchers in the direction of those that actually load the software onto devices without asking the users or giving them a way to opt-out. µ
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