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Carrier IQ Relents, Apologizes 78

Posted by timothy
from the well-said-gentlemen dept.
symbolset writes "Update from an earlier story here, where Carrier IQ was pursuing a security researcher for pointing out privacy issues in an application alleged to track and record the activities of smartphone users. The company has relented, and retracted their Cease and Desist letter. In their press release [PDF] they say: '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.' Notch another win for the Streisand effect."
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Carrier IQ Relents, Apologizes

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  • by jbolden (176878) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @04:00PM (#38160890) Homepage

    Most likely there were multiple people. This was an institutional act, and the institution is taking responsibility. Generally having people take responsibility is a way for institutions to scapegoat and duck the structural problems. So I couldn't disagree more. Who cares about going after some director who gave the order?

  • Mod parent up! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by openfrog (897716) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @04:04PM (#38160916)

    The EFF is a great organisation

    Where would we be without them

    Donate https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/11/double-your-impact-take-eff-mission-challenge [eff.org] with dollar for dollar matching by the Brin Wojcicki Foundation until december 31st

    I've sent mine in

  • by migla (1099771) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @04:07PM (#38160924)

    http://eff.org/donate [eff.org]

    And for the remainder of 2011, they seem to have some sort of drive for someone to match the donation, doubling it.

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/11/double-your-impact-take-eff-mission-challenge [eff.org]

    Now seems like a good time to donate. I would, if I had any money of my own.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @04:45PM (#38161120) Homepage Journal

    Uhhhhmmmm - slashdot people may very well over rate their impact on things like this. But, 0%? Seriously? If some organization is engaged in shady operations, and those shady operations are exposed, the more eyes on them, the more nervous they get. At least, that's what I think. Don't discount the value of being slashdotted. Or, tweeted, or dug, or whatever. The more eyes, the better!

  • by dogsbreath (730413) on Friday November 25, 2011 @09:12AM (#38165050)

    I believe there is some legislation brewing in Canada to keep commercial audio levels the same as programs. Muting is still the best option for that annoyance but killing the audio on your remote doesn't stop the ability to gather info.

    Your stb is able to record and report every button push but that doesn't mean the service provider either wants or gathers the info. Mostly they want to know about network quality and whether or not you really did watch that adult pay per view that you are denying ever since your wife caught it on the bill.

    Nonetheless, we are now bound in a tracking web by the very nature of the services we use and it isn't necessarily because there is some evil plan or because big brother wants to watch us, although these are possibilities.

    It's just the way the stuff works. Dumb landline phones and 56k audio modems are pretty simple and do not require a provider control presence on the device. If you draw out a block diagram of the overall system, it is reasonable to draw a border between subscriber side and network side with the phones and modems on the subscriber side. Sub purchases and owns the device, and is responsible for everything on his/her side of the nid (the point where the phone line enters the location).

    Cell phones, stbs, and dsl/cable modems are different. You may think you bought the phone and you own it but not really. Major parts of it are only licensed to you. Further, if you can still draw that border it has moved with the DSL modem or stb on the network side. The sub only owns the local network and even that is getting invaded with TR69 derivatives (service provider can configure your home network remotely).

    The service providers see the home devices as part of the network because things like routers are complex and difficult to manage through conversation with the subscriber, and because the devices cause problems which are expensive to remedy. Misconfigure your home router and your IPTV may die. How is tier 1 going to fix it without rolling a truck? There is a legitimate impetus to bind your home network with the provider's control structure but it also ties the user to a sticky information web. The same system that gives the provider access to maintain your network also gives access to how you use your service.

    The cell phone is murkier than your landline broadband because everything is in one device. There is no physical separation between the service provider piece and the subscriber's side; there are only information boundaries. It's OK to gather network quality info but not personal info. Not everything is that black and white though. Is it OK to gather stats on how often the settings menu is used? How about how often the "YouTube" app is invoked?

    These information boundaries are only respected because of laws and organizations such as the EFF. Oh, and it just may be that no one has had the need or desire to graze on a particular set of data yet.

    Sigh: even without CarrierIQ and like services, our smartphones bind us into the info/tracking web. No need for "AirMiles" cards. Every purchase a user makes is tracked forever by the App store. And that nifty app that maps provider 3G coverage also sends tidbits off to some developer geek's server without even a nod to privacy laws. Anyways, the user is in Canada and the dev is in China or Greece or Russia or where ever. Which laws apply?

    Caveat emptor.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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