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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.

1/n

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.

2/n

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.

3/n

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

4/n

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

5/5

P.S.

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. 🤷🏼‍♂️

@miklo I've seen whatfreewords-go and whatfreewords-py shared also. The only one I haven't seen come across my radar, that missing from the original project, is whatfreewords-rust.

@atoponce 1-yr ago, on the page whatfreewords.net (i've saved from) there was not rust code. Only JS,python, go

@atoponce w3w is probably largest legal scam in gis industry. They even sold this proprietary "system" to Mongolia goverment to be official national address scheme ! BTW , for those interested i'm still keeping WFW opensource code.

@miklo @atoponce Well it's the best reference people have when I tell them I work on Discrete Global Grid Systems.

Not a great reference, but the best they know of.

@atoponce That’s about what happened to me on get hub with the Lazarus graphics unit. And I thought back and said fuck you it’s my Code.. check the date of the upload...nope..acct banned.

@snazzyfrazz @atoponce and it was a student trying to apply as an intern at NASA....

@atoponce keep going with WFW! If it wants to be an infrastructure-style system, it should be open!

@ceruleansounds There are plenty of things worth researching, but given that I'm in graduate school right now, I don't know how much time I want to devote to it:

* Plurals
* Compound words
* Homonyms
* Lexemes
* Tenses
* Offensive phrasing
* English to non-English translation errors
* etc.

In addition, it wouldn't be that difficult to build a deterministic alternate that can be calculated using traditional orienteering methods you learned in scouting.

I guess we'll see.

@atoponce
@rochelimit Just discovered that "what3fucks" was taken down earlier this year too, along with similar sites, despite having its own completely different algorithm! At least the repo for that is still online (though who knows how long that will last)...

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