EFF in the News
Eckhart's allegations resulted in a wave of media coverage, prompting Franken to ask the firm for details. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Digital Democracy have also expressed concern about Carrier IQ's software and potential tracking.
Misener's answers to those queries were in line with statements Silk's director of development made six weeks ago to the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF), which said at the time that Amazon had assuaged some of its concerns.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation said the software that Eckhart has publicized "raises substantial privacy concerns" about software that "many consumers don’t know about."
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."