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Carrier IQ Drops Threat of Legal Action Against Security Researcher

Carrier IQ, a provider of software that helps mobile carriers monitor handset performance, has backed off its threat to sue a security researcher for saying its software secretly tracked mobile phone users.

The situation began earlier this month, when researcher Trevor Eckhart published his findings online. According to Eckart, Carrier IQ’s software is a “rootkit” and collects data from mobile phones without the user’s knowledge. In response the company sent him a cease and desist letter that alleged copyright violations after he copied Carrier IQ training manuals and made them available online. The letter also demanded Eckhart retract his criticisms of the company.

Soon after receiving the letter, Eckhart contacted the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for assistance. The group responded to Carrier IQ with a letter of its own Nov. 21. In it, the EFF called the company’s claims “baseless.”

On Nov. 23, Carrier IQ changed its tune.

“We are deeply sorry for any concern or trouble that our letter may have caused Mr. Eckhart, and 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,” the company said in a letter to the EFF.

According to Eckhart’s findings, Carrier IQ’s software covertly monitors millions of U.S. handsets, and supports devices including BlackBerry, Android phones and more.

Carrier IQ says that its solutions deliver Mobile Intelligence on the performance of mobile devices and networks to assist operators and device manufacturers in delivering high quality products and services to their customers.

Additional details are shown in the video below and more can be found on Eckhart’s blog.

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