back to article Software maker sorry for trying to silence security researcher

A Silicon Valley software maker has withdrawn legal threats against an Android developer who claimed the company's diagnostic application amounted to a rootkit that posed a privacy threat to millions of handset owners. In a statement issued on Wednesday, Mountain View, California-based Carrier IQ apologized to Trevor Eckhart …


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  1. Mikel

    That's that

    Another win for Babs.

  2. Chronos
    Thumb Up


    Another intrusive bully bites the dust. Well done Trevor and the EFF.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this root kit present on UK phones from Samsung and HTC?

    Can someone run the loggers scan and let us know?

    1. Dante

      Ran it on my S 2 and it wasn't there - may be dependant on provider, etc...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Carrier IQ"

    Why do privacy-nobbling types and data pimping trash in general always seem to pick slightly creepy sounding names that seem to give half the game away before they've even started whatever nefarious crap they're going to get up to? Wouldn't something less oily and invasive sounding (and maybe even a bit fluffy?) do just as well at the top of the company letterhead? "Squirrel Nutkin's Ozone friendly Data den", might stop the alarm bells ringing. Or is a slightly macho name with a hint of darkness actually necessary to massage your clients control freak ego's.

    The less smart of the web scraping bots always used to do this with client strings; something of the order of "PageRipper" or "ScrapeMonster" always seemed to be de rigeur, whereas you would have thought calling it something less aggressive like "WebIndexer" might not get you instantly added to the site's "fuck off parasite" list.

    If you found a bit of software with the moniker "Carrier IQ" attached, you'd go digging really, wouldn't you.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      No, it's not a creepy name. Which is creepy, actually.

      Tastes differ, but I think "Carrier IQ" is an anonymous business name that doesn't particularly imply anything creepy, as "Orwell Customer Metrics" or "Quatermass Observation" would do. It's what they do that's creepy, potentially.

      Likewise, there's a lot of American creepy religious and political organisations with "Family" in the name.

      On the other hand, you would be prudent to assume that your phone service carrier can monitor anything that you do with your device, subject to any appropriate privacy policy and police requests for information. Carrier IQ is merely selling them the means to do so.

      So now we know what it is that takes time when the carrier delays issuing the hardware manufacturer's software update.

  5. Michael Thibault


    ... makes it all better.

    So nothin' bad here, Andruïds! Nope. Nothin'.

    You made the right choice. You know ya did!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That wasn't an about face so much as them running head first into a legal brick wall then staggering away afterwards.

    Glad he didn't back down... Now I want answers from them and the carriers about his claims.

  7. WonkoTheSane

    Title should read...

    Software maker sorry for getting caught trying to silence security researcher

  8. dotdavid


    So was the legal action only dropped because the EFF is able to defend this sort of thing in its' sleep?

    Sometimes seeing this sort of thing I have to wonder what kind of authorisation the lawyers need before they go firing off cease and desist and other legal threats - anyone with a modicum of technical knowledge and some common sense would have been able to see the legal claims of Carrier IQ were pretty baseless - why would any reputable law firm advise their clients to pursue this course of action?

    I think it's interesting that Carrier IQ are still arguing though. It's pretty well documented on XDA Developers what their software does, and their company is pretty infamous in the Android community at the moment (or at least the techie parts of it). I wonder how many carriers will be willing to continue a business relationship with them now - the gigs up methinks.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who in the World

    would possibly want to do a thing like that?

  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "we are deeply sorry"

    No you're not. You saw the 800-pound EFF gorilla coming your way and ran with your tail betwixt your legs like the bullying cowards you are. Having realized that all that blustering and fleeing happened in public, you are now desperately trying to salvage your reputation with typical PR maneuvering.

    But you are fooling no one.

  11. irish donkey


    Could they not have just file a case under SOPA to have the site taken down as it was damaging Carrier IQ's brand?

    Much easier that creating a big issue with bad publicity.

    DOH! Slaps head of course SOPA is to defend IP not guarantee a company’s bottom line. Silly me it would never be used so cynically

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    This proves one thing to me...

    That this Carrier IQ company is something I'd never wish to do business with (which probably doesn't mean that much anyway considering that I'm from Europe).

    Seriously... They simply proven every suspicion about them to be quite feasible and the best part is that they did it all by themselves. In my opinion a totally untrustworthy company and thus also dangerous considering the aspect of said root kit.

    Why I say this ? Simple... First its trying to show muscles in order to suppress the truth. Apparently they were worried about their reputation (and rightfully so!). So they start to threaten the kid. Questionable tactics but all perfectly fine within the confines of the law; let a Judge decide if its slander or not.

    But now that they're backing off one has to seriously wonder here... It would seem as if they are not so sure of their case after all. I consider that very peculiar considering their first action; all muscles to silence the kid (protecting face) and then nothing. Anyone could have predicted that this backing down move would be even /worse/ for their reputation. After all; no one is impressed with hollow threats these days.

    Which brings up another theory... Most likely they know to be in the wrong, and the last thing you want to happen then is getting this fact thrown back in your face by a judge.

    I hope this guy continues making his findings available to the public and that more media will catch on to this.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Chronos

      Shirley... mean "CHARGE!... Run away!"

  14. Jay Jaffa

    Freedom of ...

    CarrierIQ seem a very Dodgy outfit - and what the fuck are these big Operators like Sprint and Verizon thinking about allowing or even paying some turd party to put dodgy spyware on all their customers mobiles - WTF is that all about.

    Shocking. Stay the fuck away from O2 or I'm off to another network rapido

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks for apologising

    Now if you could just provide a list of affected phones and instructions for removal we'll be done.

  16. Martin Usher
    Big Brother

    Obviously British people involved

    The libel laws in the US are substantially different from those in the UK. In the UK its easy to threaten someone you don't like because you can't defend yourself by saying "but its the truth, isn't it?". You can't do that in the US and someone obviously got to the Carrier IQ fellow after he'd issued that ballbusting threat and mentioned that just possibly continuing in this vein is not only going to make the company a laughing stock but could cost them substantial amounts of money. Better to just admit it and hope everyone forgets....

    But as you all know, where you are, what you do and who you know is all valuable commercial information, its what outfits like Facebook thrive on. So its logical that the phone providers would want to tap into this information.....its good eatin'.

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