What3Words sends legal threat to a security researcher for sharing an open-source alternative – ClearTips

What3Words sends legal threat to a security researcher for sharing an open-source alternative – TechCrunch

WhatsApp, a UK company behind the digital addressing system, has sent a security threat to a security researcher offering to share an open-source software project with other researchers, which WhatsApp claims is a copyright infringement.

Aaron Toponas, a system administrator at Exxon, received a letter on Thursday from a law firm representing WhatsApp, requesting that he delete the tweet related to the open source alternative, WhatsApp. The letter also demands that he disclose the law or the identity of the person or people with whom he shared a copy of the software, agreeing that he will not make any other copy of the software, and that the software is not owned by anyone He was also in his possession to remove the copy.

The letter gave him until May 7 to give consent, after which WhatsApp may have to forgive any entitled “to quash related claims against you” regarding the threat posed by the threat of legal action.

“This is not a fight worth fighting,” he said In a tweet. Toponce told ClearTips that he complied with the demands, fearing legal consequences if he did not do so. He has also asked the law firm twice for links to tweets he wants to delete but has not heard back. “Depending on the tweet, I may or may not comply. Depends on its content, ”he said.

Legal threat sent to Aaron Topnose. (Image: supply)

Britain-based WhatsApp divides the entire world into three-meter squares and labels each with a unique three-word phrase. The idea is that sharing the three words is easy to share over the phone in an emergency, so that they can find and read their precise geographical directions.

But security researcher Andrew Tierney recently discovered that WhatsApp is sometimes split into two equally-named squares less than a mile apart, possibly leading to confusion about a person’s true whereabouts. In a later article, Tierney stated that WhatsApp was not sufficient for use in security-critical cases.

It is not only negative. Critics have long argued that the geocoding technology owned by WhatsApp, which presents it as “life-saving”, makes it difficult to investigate for problems or security vulnerabilities.

Concerns about the lack of openness in part led to the creation of WhatsApp. A copy of the project’s website, which does not contain the code itself, said the open-source option reverse-engineering was developed by WhatsApp. The website said, “Once we found out how it worked, we implemented it for JavaScript and Go.” “To ensure that we have not infringed the copyright of the WhatsApp company, we have not included any of their code, and we have only included the bare minimum data required for the interoperation.”

But the project’s website was nonetheless subject to a copyright takedown request filed by a WhatsApp consultant. Even tweets that pointed to cached or backup copies of the code were removed by Twitter at the request of lawyers.

Toponce – and a security researcher – contributed to Tierney’s research, which was Tweeting As to his conclusions he went. Topons said he offered to share a copy of the WhatsApp code with other researchers to help Tierney with ongoing research on WhatsApp. Toponce told ClearTips that receiving legal threats could be a combination of offering to share the code and detecting problems with WhatsApp.

In its letter to Toponce, What3 scripts argue that WhatsApp has its own intellectual property and that the company “cannot allow the proliferation” of the software.

Regardless, many websites still retain copies of the code and are easily searchable through Google, and ClearTips has seen many tweets associated with the WhatsApp code since Toponce went public with legal threats. Tierney, who did not use WhatsApp as part of his research, said In a tweet This response from WhatsApp was “completely inappropriate which you can easily find the online version.”

We asked WhatsApp if the company could point to a case where the judicial court has claimed that WhatsApp infringed its copyright. What3Script spokesman Miriam Frank did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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