Escort Live! War of Words

First off, thank you to everyone for the encouraging emails, linked in invites, etc. Even had a consumer reporter contact me.

One email in particular was very interesting to me, is it linked me to the following site:
http://www.radardetector.net/forums/escort/80482-escort-live-its-issues-android.html

You see, what Escort is trying to do is make me out to be someone villainous by using words like “threats”. It reminds me of this guy’s video:

War of the Words – Amidst the Noise

Interesting isn’t it?

A Spatula will always be a spatula until someone kills someone with it… then it becomes an assault weapon in that particular instance: but it’s still a spatula to everyone else… so classifying it as an assault weapon would be highly inappropriate.

I’m not one to get involved with politics by using such language. They can say I’m making “threats” or I’m “trolling” or whatever all they’d like too.

The problem here is that the truth is, nobody is making any “threats”. Clearly, Escort does not understand the concept of “Open Source”

If you choose to develop a program for use on an Open Source Platform, then you should first understand the concept of open source.

Android is an open source platform. One which is garnering a major share of the market at an exponential rate. Why? One Word. Freedom.
Freedom to purchase another developers app if it works better than the others.
Freedom to alter an app, or the platform all together if you have customized needs that aren’t met by the stock roll out.
Freedom to break something open and figure out how it works.

What my team and I are doing, is enhancing an application because the stock rollout is too buggy for most users.

As the Escort Rep has stated in his post, They have a high google play ranking. Good! The concept of the application is awesome!
But it’s buggy. Your score on the market reflects the overall concept of the app, even though it functions poorly for the subscribing users who have PAID to unlock the “enhanced cloud based features” which is necessary in order to integrate with a purchased radar detector. I’m sure the “Free” users aren’t noticing the bugs because the bugs are located INSIDE of the “enhanced cloud based features”. So go ahead and analyze the scores of those who paid for it and subtract the scores of those who are using the free version. I’m sure it will be much lower. I’m also sure that if everything functioned as it should, it has the capability of being a 5 star app.

Escort should take the interest we have in their application as a “compliment”, not a “threat”. See, It’s a Spatula, not an assault weapon.
Escort should also realize that their Android developers suck! That’s not a threat, that’s an insult based on facts.

Again, Escort deserves full credit for their concept, and as a result, any new app that we create will also be free, and will also preserve the “Enhanced Cloud Based Features” which you will still have to pay Escort for…. the only difference is… is that it will WORK and have alot more features than the stock roll out. We are not a band of pirates trying to make the application free. We are credited and experienced developers that see a problem, and want to fix it. Is it possible to bypass their authentication model? Sure it is. But that’s not our fault… that’s the fault of the crappy devs who used unsecured tokens within the app, rather than requiring secured ones. But even given this information… We are not going to bypass that. We are still giving Escort their money, and in addition, the added benefit of pointing out this security flaw so that someone with less honorable intentions can be prevented from taking advantage of it.

If your company is afraid of this, then you should reconsider supporting Android all-together. But as I stated, they are garnering a extremely large market share, so it wouldn’t be very smart to do so. You can’t bank on the fact that every android user is incapable of decompiling an application and unfamiliar with the open source platform. The reality of Android is that there are MANY developers than use the platform because of its open source nature. So anything referred to as a “threat” is really just an oversight on the part of Escort’s management in not realizing the implications of supporting an open source platform.

What I suggest, is that Escort has a serious sit down to discuss their current business model with respect to android; Invite lawyers to the meeting so you can also understand Intellectual property rights and their role on an Open Source Platform.

People want freedom, People want Android, people want open source.

Removing links to your .apk won’t stop that. That’s called censorship and Your app is on an open source platform… To quote John Gilmore: “The internet identifies censorship as damage and routes around it.” ANYBODY can extract the installation and decompile it, and do with it what they wish, as long as they aren’t violating any copyright laws… which we’re not, because:
A: As you stated, it’s a free app. and
B: we’re still keeping your subscription based model in tact, and all subscriptions will still go through your cloud based model.

Look, if you want to get into it, bring it. I’m sure my friend David Kravets at wired who helped us immensely in breaking open the online mugshot extortion racket would love to write about it:
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/08/mugshots/

I’m sure he would be very interested to learn of this debate especially if legal “threats” (see what I did there) are introduced… in which case, I’m sure the Electronic Frontier Foundation (which I’m a sustaining member of) would be EXTREMELY interested in analyzing.

To summarize… I’m not fucking with you, I’m trying to help you.

… So don’t fuck with me.

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6 thoughts on “Escort Live! War of Words

  1. Chad Riley says:

    Thanks for taking the time to fix LIVE!

  2. john00 says:

    For such a smart guy you seem to be very misinformed and misguided. EscortLive is not OpenSource, it just happens to run on an OS that is. OpenSource does not equal free, it does not equal uncopyrighted, it simply means people can see the source code and can modify / compile it for their own use if they want too; they still may be prohibited from distributing it, you have to read the license. If you bypass their security features to access their cloud you are likely to be prosecuted (even if a child could have done it). Also, a decompiled program always looks like a mess; though it may (may, being a key word) function the same as the original source it doesn’t look like it. Can you improve it and make it better? Probably. But without access to the Escort Live forum I doubt if you’ll get many people to notice your improved app.

    All of this said, I agree that the Escort Live app sucks, its sucked for far too long for a commercial app, and it makes them look amateurish.

    • pcabibi says:

      Thanks for Replying. 1st, I am certain I will not be breaking any laws. I have spoken with about 3 lawyers already who said any prosecution that would result from an app that makes the original company more money, would fall into a new category of copyright trolls. Judges are shutting the door on copyright trolls as it is. Besides, breaking their license won’t result in prosecution unless CISPA passes and is signed into law. the worst I’d get is sued… but again.. for what damages? They’ll get more business, and I’m making no money off of this.

  3. Believe me, I am following this, access to Escort forums will not be an issue. I and many will post about any success you have in fixing this excuse for an app. I was on the Android platform but stopped using it due to all the bugs. I am now on the iphone platform and the latest releases for it are a joke at best.

    Please keep up the good work and thank you for your efforts!

  4. Chirs Blanchard says:

    Now that was some funny shit. The app still sucks. Please fix it. Over $600 for the detector and live card and they can’t afford ppl that can fix this app? Damn, they fix the app and the cash rolls in with subscriptions!

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