EFF in the News
Just days later, Carrier IQ did an about face after the Electronic Frontier Foundation responded to its cease-and-desist letter, saying that Eckhart's comments and research are protected under the Copyright Act's fair use provision.
Eckhart labeled the software a “rootkit,” and the Mountain View, California-based software maker threatened him with legal action and huge money damages. The Electronic Frontier Foundation came to his side last week, and the company backed off on its threats. The company told Wired.com last week that Carrier IQ’s wares are for “gathering information off the handset to understand the mobile-user experience, where phone calls are dropped, where signal quality is poor, why applications crash and battery life.”
"More broadly, Mr. Eckhart published his analysis of Carrier IQ and the underlying training materials to educate the public about privacy concerns raised by your software, which is installed by default on many mobile devices, unbeknownst to most consumers," according to the letter, which was written by Marcia Hoffman, a senior staff attorney at the EFF. The training materials that Eckhart posted on his website had also been publicly accessible via Carrier IQ's website. (They've since been removed.)
Operation In Our Sites has been criticized by online rights groups, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
"Domain name seizers are blunt instruments that cause unacceptable collateral damage to free speech rights," EFF Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman argues.
Lenhart's apology to Eckhart and its decision to withdraw its threat against him were contained in a letter (download PDF) to the EFF last week. "We are deeply sorry for any concern or trouble that our letter may have caused Mr. Eckhart," Lenhart wrote. "In retrospect, we realize that we would have been better served by reaching out to Mr. Eckhart to establish a dialogue in the first instance."
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.
... it wasn’t until the 1990s that she found a champion in Dave Hughes, a longtime member of the online community the Well (now owned by Salon). He brought her achievement to wider awareness and, in 1997, she received a Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
EFF argued in its response to Carrier IQ (PDF) that Eckhart's publication is protected under the Copyright Act's fair use provision: "The fair use of a copyrighted work...for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting...or research, is not an infringement of copyright." And, after Carrier IQ didn't substantiate what it said were Eckhart's "false allegations," the EFF concluded that "your threats are motivated by a desire to suppress Mr. Eckhart's research conclusions, and to prevent others from verifying those conclusions."
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.
The about face came a few days after the Connecticut-based Android developer received legal support from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which asserted his postings were protected by the US Constitution's First Amendment.