To recap:

1. In 2018, What Free Words (WFW) reverse engineers what3words (w3w) in a clean room with JavaScript.
2. WFW is ported to other languages.
3. In 2019, w3w legally goes after WFW for trademark and copyright infringement.
4. WFW is effectively pulled offline.

5. In 2021, @cybergibbons begins his research into w3w testing their claims.
6. I offer to help, still having a copy of the WFW JavaScript source code.
7. I offer to privately distribute that source code to other researchers.
8. Two people reach out to me asking for a copy.

9. April 29, 2021, I receive a cease and desist email from the w3w legal firm threatening I have 7 days to comply.
10. Being ignorant to legal cyber bullying, I comply with their demands.
11. I share my experience on Twitter.
12. The tweet goes viral.

13. The original WFW JavaScript source code is found elsewhere online, and shared and copied in multiple Twitter threads.
14. Other languages are uncovered also.
15. Prior art is uncovered to potentially invalidate w3w patents.
16. @zackwhittaker interviews me for TechCrunch

17. The TechCrunch article goes online.
18. It's shared on other social media platforms.
19. May 2, 2021, I receive an email from the w3w legal firm that w3w considers the matter resolved.
20. @cybergibbons publishes his findings uncovering severe problems with w3w algorithm


My intent of being willing to share the WFW source code was not to compete with w3w, nor cause them any harm. The intent was to help @cybergibbons look into their claims of safety and security, to ultimately improve the service. However, I know intent is not a defense. 🤷🏼‍♂️

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More from @AaronToponce

30 Apr
When I was about 9, shortly after my parents divorced, my mom moved in with her parents, and I found my grandfather's old non-working watches.

I learned how to open the back and replace the battery. That lead to replacing crowns, bezels, crystals, bands, etc.

I fixed every one.
I did not learn everything on my own. My grandfather knew of a clock and watch maker in the neighborhood who had access to parts suppliers, catalogs, extra watch parts, etc.

He was some old guy that was tickled pink some kid picked up the hobby.
My mom has since married and remarried a few times. My most recent stepdad is a clockmaker who learned it from his father, who is both a clock and watch maker.

I loved going into his shop. It brought back lot of nostalgia for me.

Part of me wishes I went into the profession.
Read 4 tweets
30 Apr
I've been served legal threats by @what3words. Both via email and post.

I am complying with all their demands. This is not a battle worth fighting.

Just let it be known however, they are evil.
Good morning Streisand Effect!

I have some chores and errands to do this morning, and then I'll take to responding to your replies.

Including sharing the 4 legal demands placed on me by @what3words.
Their demands are:

1. Delete all copy of "What Free Words" software.
2. Reveal the identities of those I shared it with.
3. Agree I will not make further copies or distribute it.
4.Delete any Tweets that make references to "What Free Words".

I have until May 7, 2021 to comply.
Read 5 tweets
29 Apr
The past 24 hours of using the @brave browser has been mostly seamless.

Default ad blocking means no need for uBlock Origin. HTTP -> HTTPS upgrades means no need for HTTPS Everywhere.

What I'm really missing is Firefox's "Take Screenshot". Haven't found an extension I like.
@brave I really dig their browser sync feature, however. No account needed. Everything is encrypted client-side with a random 256-bit key that can be shared/copied via either BIP39 or QR code.

I've also enabled their BAT rewards with their ad system. I am interesting in supporting content creators and non-profits, and this seems to provide a transparent and simple way to do that.

We'll see if I stick with it though. It's still ads after all.
Read 4 tweets

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