back to article Apple says jailbroken iPhones endanger cell towers

Apple has told the US Copyright Office that jailbroken iPhones could lead to crashed cell phone towers and drug dealers freely making anonymous phone calls. Cupertino loosed the hyperbole firehose on the Copyright Office in response to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's proposal to legalize the modification of the iPhone’s OS …

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Anonymous Coward

Breaking News

Apple demonstrates astonishing lack of understanding of what a phone is/does.

But then again, anyone who's used an iPhone already knows that. Great PMP with a shite phone built in.

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FAIL

I must admit

that if I was a drug dealer I certainly wouldn't hack my cellphone if jailbreaking was determined to be against the DMCA - idiots!

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Jobs Horns

Bullshit

Apple, talking out of their arse again, as per usual.

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Flying leap onto ignorance

Apple seems to be counting on the copyright authorities' ignorance of what is a baseband processor, what's actually possible in the way of manipulations and ultimately what methods are effective for control of such technology.

For an analogous worst-possible-case scenario, see the MadWiFi project. So far, the important secrets of the Atheros BBP have remained secure for practical purposes despite best efforts by the overweaningly curious with full access to the hardware interface. So unless Apple and its vendors have done a shockingly poor job, we're probably not looking at a casual effort to gain full control of the BBP.

Continuing the analogy, when the day comes that access to restricted functions of Atheros' chipsets is made into a scriptable method, the futility of attempting to maintain trivial secrecy as a substitute for scrupulous design will be more obvious. Then, finally, system designers will be forced to deal with this problem in complete way, maybe involving improved cryptographic handshaking between tower and handset, etc.

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Thumb Down

Control

All the excuses Apple give for not allowing jailbroken phones are bull. People who are going to do malicious things with jailbroken phones are going to do it where it is forbidden to jail break or not. Allowing iphone to be jailbroken allows owners of iphone to install and use their phones how thay want.

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Happy

Drug smugglers, thieves and terrorists prefer..

jailbroken iPhones.

As if we didn't know that already duh.

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Is this not utter nonsense?!

Surely the mobile phone networks access control is on the SIM card on a GSM/3g network?

Perhaps they're confusing GSM technology with some old analogue system like AMPS or ETACS.

GSM networks are pretty robust systems that can't be taken down too easily by a rogue iPhone.

Making such nonsensical claims just makes apple look stupid!!

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Pirate

Windows Mobile...

Windows Mobile is designed to allow any third party to write apps for the phone. No jailbreaking or security circumvention needed. The network doesn't collapse.

There are plenty of hacks for Windows Mobile devices to replace the Radio ROM with others. This hasn't caused the wireless networks to collapse.

If the iPhone is dependent purely on user-modifiable software to provide network protection then there's a massive design flaw.

All Apple need to do is ring-fence the BPP so that user executable code can't touch it and has to go through open APIs, and then allow third party software to be loaded. No jailbreaking, no hacking, no problem.

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Silver badge

Why Bother?

If you're after free or anonymous calls then I can think of far easier ways to achieve this than maintain a jailbroken iPhone.

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WTF?

What?

How could they fail to mention it's also responsible for global warming, al qaeda and paedophiles?

Oh, and it's also an evil shade of purple.

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Coat

Can't tell Apples from Microsofts anymore

Well, Apple officially sounds like MS did back when MS tried to own the PC through the license of the OS, and all because they didn't tighten their code down enough, for what I can only guess was to allow "features" to work properly. Whatever features those are I can only guess.

It looks like Apple brought a PC to a Cell phone fight, and Cell phones are actually pretty simple in what they can (their networks) and cannot (your phone) keep secure. Well, before the iPhone showed up. That thing hacked is an IT tech's wet dream if it works as advertised :)

If Apple wants it their way without alienating the customers, they would need to completely redesign the iPhone, and offer a free exchange to the owners for their old ones. But it's cheaper to let the monster out of the box and punish the people who are "dumb" enough to play with it. This should actually make the iPhone worth more hacked than un-hacked, a lot more. Apple should have kept their mouths shut, or just thought out their response to the threat better than the panicked way they did.

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Jobs Horns

Why I Detest Apple

They started a company hacking AT&T then got all pissy when other people hack AT&T.

I hope his liver rejects and he dies a slow painful death. The world is better off without people like him.

http://www.9to5mac.com/steve-jobs-hacks-phones-234556455

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Anonymous Coward

Pimps?

iPhone - the drug dealers choice.

Apple sure seem to know their market. I notice they don't include pimps and hookers in their core customer base... Surely no self respecting pimp would be without an iPhone?

I can't find an icon for a nob.

The year 2099. Apple are arguing that non-Apple air causes rain which in turn makes pavements slippery. Why would anyone want to breath anything other than iAir anyway, it's sooo cool smelling and it 'just works' with your lungs?

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Pirate

The REAL reason ...

Jobs & Co sat back and had a long think about why punters shouldn't be allowed to jailbreak the Iphones that they own. The debate raged back and forth until Jobs himself asked "What Would Jesus Do?". Obviously, Jesus wouldn't want Jobs to lose any money in Iphone sales, nor cause untold chaos and devastation across the land. So it was settled that jailbreaking was bad, because Jesus said so.

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WTF?

crashing cell towers

so, black-hat X manages to crash a cell tower, and we are to believe that this is a problem associated with people getting access to the iPhone rather than a coding tolerance / stability problem with the software running on the tower radio system?

let me sit down for a moment and attempt to understand this doublethink.

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A simple solution

Rewrite the OS so jailbreaking is no longer nessecary.

Yeah like that's gonna happen!

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Flame

. . .Woooooooooow

I don't even know where to start with this one. I mean seriously. WTF? Not only is Apple playing scare tactics with this but they are flat out BSing people. Ill stick to just one area of the article that really caught my eye:

"It also depends on ensuring third parties provide the services and functionality that help make the iPhone the revolutionary product it is. Hacking thus undermines the overall iPhone experience, diminishing Apple's copyrights and, ultimately, the overall value of the iPhone and its ecosystem to consumers."

iPhone a revolutionary product? Really? It is good Ill give it that. It has the best mobile browser I have seen. But revolutionary? So I'm guessing its revolutionary for being made by Apple? Or that they invented* iCut 'n iPaste? Umm right. Well lets move on shall we?

Hacking undermining the iPhone experience? Umm wouldn't that only bother the people who JAILBROKE their phones and not the ones who like being done up the jacksie by an 800lb gorilla by the mobile companies charges? Diminishing Apples copyright and the overall value of the iPhone and its ecosystem? SERIOUSLY?? They are referring to their phone as a fucking ECOSYSTEM? Since when does a god damn phone have life* on it? Also what is the predator that eats the iPhone? I have several friends who have the jesusPhone and I will be the first to say that there are smart, intelligent people out there with it but for the most part the majority of those with the iPhone have about as much brains as my left nut. And even my nut isn't as stuck up about its status in the world.

Hell ive taken shits that have done more damage to the ecosystem then a jailbroken iPhone would do to it's ecosystem*.

The more Apple throws out patents for things that are/were previous and blatant prior art, the more they try to use scare tactics like this, the more I start to believe those that follow them blindly in the cult of Jobs are iTards. Morons.

*note the sarcasm on those points

/For those about to flame. . .I salute you. Twats

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Gold badge

What a load, apple...

What a load, Apple...

a) The radio firmware and such is seperate from the main system. Nobody is trying to crack the radio firmware. That firmware is ALL that could harm the cellular system -- the OS cannot make the radio misbehave. If AT&T's worried about heavy usage (and they should be -- their network is practically collapsed in quite a few markets), they should 1) Quit neglecting their network, build out enough to cover usage. 2) Institute caps or throttles if they have to*

b) I expect my calls to be confidential. Apple, and anyone wanting to illegally snoop on my calls, can piss right off. If the po' suspect someone of illegal activities they can get a warrant and try to tap VOIP if they want to, otherwise cry me a river. Honestly, though, this is obviously a red herring -- I seriously doubt people are cracking IPhones to use for dealing.

*About caps and throttles -- nearly every cellular company here in the states went with a 5GB cap within months of each other for aircards (Verizon Wireless first, then AT&T and Sprint); on-phone, blackberry, PDA, etc., use is typically still unlimited. Verizon Wireless also has a ~220kbps throttle for grandfathered in unlimited aircard plans, I'm not sure how high it kicks in (I might have been throttled once when I was at almost 10GB, but I can't tell.. i was in an area that already runs a bit slow sometimes.) I'm not a fan of this stuff, but VZW and Sprint's speeds almost doubled once they started doing this.. they had people serving bittorrents 24/7 pulling like 100+GB a month before that.

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Pirate

Huh

Thanks to this, I'm going to have to jailbreak my iphone.

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Jobs Horns

But...

"jailbroken iPhones endanger cell towers"? iPhones do this anyway, as they play fast and loose with the GSM spec in order to save battery power.

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J 3
WTF?

Hm...

I certainly don't know the details of the jailbreaking process, but... Does the jailbreaking make the phone any different from the iPhones sold in France, for example (I mean, the ones not locked to a provider, of course).

Anyway, if all that doomsday scenario is possible, stopping the folks who just want to jailbreak in order to use any carrier and install any software they like will surely not stop the criminals (the hypothetical drug dealers) from doing all the things Apple is talking about. Will it? So the solution is: ban the iPhone. Only then can they be sure nobody is doing anything nasty. :-)

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Pirate

FUD

Ok, so how long til some hacking genius takes the bait Apple are dangling in front of everyone and finds out that either

yes, the iPhone can be hacked so much that you can make free & anonymous calls, as well as crashing cell towers (wouldn't that be funny if it were true and they released the code!)

or no, Apple are (again) talking out of their arse.

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It's a load of hot air...

As far as the mobile networks are concerned, the iPhone is just like any other GSM/UMTS device. The network's not any more or less secure because the iPhone's been jailbroken.

They are talking out of their rear end and making references to 1980s analogue mobile phone hacking problems that have never existed with GSM.

The only thing that Apple controls is anything to do with push-notification or MobileMe, that's just all internet-based/IP stuff. It has nothing to do with the core of the mobile phone infrastructure.

It's a bit like saying that if you hack the software on your washing machine you could cause a global power network meltdown. It ain't going to happen

Access control to the phone network is built into the network and how it interacts with the SIM card.

Hacking unique ID codes on the phone just makes them more prone to theft, as they can be given new identities if mobile phone companies black list them, it doesn't however mean that they could actually access someone's account. As far as the network is concerned it's connecting to a SIM card.

Cloning phones ID codes was something that was a problem about 20 years ago when Analogue mobile phones with very primitive network security were all the rage.

What Apple are suggesting is total nonsense. It would be interesting to see a statement from the GSM Association on it .. (and very embarrassing for the person who came out with this claim!)

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Stop

Monopoly

we (byut wich i mean Apple) have stolen money from our customers since day one. The iPhone is our best scam ever. It is sol for 10 times it value and everyone who want to publish a software for it must pay our illegal monop[oly taxes.

jailbreaking does not violate (c), jailbreaking only allow poor clueless morrons who got con into buying a iphone to be able to actually use it.

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Silver badge
WTF?

Crashing the tower?

So anyone who can hack together some chips to talk to a cell tower can trash it?

And the answer is to tell them that it would be naughty to do this with one particular brand of phone, rather than, sort of, fixing the tower software?

That's got about as much logic to it as an SCO legal plea.

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Megaphone

Yeah I could post...

...many paragraphs of rebuttals of Jobs' idiocy (note the skilful use of the apostrophe) but Firefox just LOST THE FUCKING LOT (my second longest reg post ever) thanks to my keyboard clumsiness/firefox dumbness, so I'm off to find that form-autosave plugin. I don't even know what keys I hit.

The gist of it was: most of the FAIL is actually base station firmware (and some more FAIL regarding Apple's blatant bollocks to the USCO) and as for drug dealers, do Apple mean liquor store owners, tobacco emporium proprietors, or those that prefer "unauthorised" smoking materials? (MY apartment == MY fucking law, capisce?)

And as for The Little Guy network operator getting a competetive lookin on a "crowded" marketplace... Well we can't possibly have that, can we?!?!?

"EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann notes that while Apple's hypothetical horror story is technically correct, mobile phone OS code is already accessible in the open source Android G1 phone and society has yet to collapse into said madness and chaos." Yeah but who cares about contradictory evidence these days? I for one welcome our overpaid Washington lobbyist overlords...

[on an unrelated note, I've just had to add "Firefox" and "firefox" to the internal (UK English) dictionary of Firefox, but not "Washington"]

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Anonymous Coward

Locked in phones are anti competitive

You can't tie services like that in many countries, it's prevented for competition reasons. They should ban it.

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RW
Megaphone

Sounds like Nanny State Pty.

Full of mights and mays and coulds, but very little "happened".

I'm surprised they didn't claim "it might facilitate the spread of invasive plant species", a currently fashionable meme.

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FAIL

So on the eve of the Black Hat Security Conference

Apples' PR guys decided to say "The iPhone could become the most powerful tool in mobile-hacking history, EVAR!!!1!". I smell a rattus rattus.

WinMo/PocketPC phones have had changeable Radio ROMs since when they started. Android phones probably have something similar given that they're open-source. The Linux implementations for HTC handsets would be branded WMDs if this was actually possible- just think of the havoc you could wreak with something that could screw up bluetooth, wifi and GSM! And it's got GPS too- and if Hollywood's taught us anything it's that receivers can be made into transmitters really easily. So it'll also alter the GPS signal to -100m and make planes crash.

Jailbreaking may also cause your iPhone's camera to steal the souls of the subjects whose photo you've taken.

So unless Apple have designed the iPhone to do this and left out the software- which given everyone else has managed to avoid it and the huge implications if it's exploited should mean Apple should probably be shut down as terrorist-enablers- they're talking out of their arses.

Alternatively it could be related to them not wanting a hack around the ECID number that's causing quite a bit of trouble here: http://iphonejtag.blogspot.com/2009/06/ecid-field-downgrades-no-dice.html

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Silver badge

Try to remember ...

Try to remember that Apple isn't talking to technical people. Apple is talking to a bunch of fairly old, mostly male, egotistical technophobes who would probably still be afraid to pick up an iphone after taking a week long class on the subject. IOW, Apple knows it's full of it ... Remember the old saying "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit" ...

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FAIL

Nice argument

Funny how making anonymous phone calls is bad - must be shit living in America. Also damage to telecomms systems is covered by masses of other laws and you have to break them first before you can be found guilty :)

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Bronze badge
Thumb Down

'International' hackers attacking cellphone towers?!

I just want to know how Apple think 'international' hackers could exploit a jailbreak - gaining *local* control over the device - to attack cellphone towers. Short of being right on the US-Mexico or US-Canada border, the laws of physics would do a pretty good jobs of preventing any such attack: you'd be too far away for any of your evil hacker packets to be received by the tower in the first place, let alone do any damage to the network!

Still, I suppose the more honest "allowing our customers to use the things we sell them in the same way other companies do would hurt our profit margin and stop us censoring competitors' products" wouldn't get very far as an argument.

It's a shame: the iPhone is really quite a good web browsing/email reading device, with a neat UI and a fairly adequate phone function, if only the manufacturers weren't such paranoid control freaks.

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Gold badge

Xbox360 PS3 etc...

Why are people not complaining when Microsoft and Sony stop the mod chips? this is "jailbreaking" the console.

Yet if Apple do it then it's wrong and control freakery.

iPhone owners know the score when they buy the phone.

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Coat

I must be old...really old:

No one here has mentioned The Carterphone Decision yet.

Mine's the one with my old Western Electric 1001A DAA in the pocket

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As long as Apple continue..

...to treat customers with contempt then I shall continue to ignore their products.

The price of the latest iPhone in the UK is a joke....£645? Ha-ha-ha.

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g e
Silver badge

Solution

iphones are obviously a liability to networks and Apple unable to secure this.

Ban them until Apple certify under pain of lots of money that they are no longer a danger.

Or just ban the bloody things anyway then the world can Move On.

Maybe just ban Apple and their incessant bloody whinging - they sound like an ex girlfriend of mine. I banned her and it made life much better.

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@ Giles

Because chpping the console allowed users to play copied games and chipping required a physical device to be inserted onto the PCB to allow it to happen.

It should also be noted that actually hacking the console is *still* not illegal, it's illegal to sell the service of hacking a console or to sell some of the materials necessary.

Jailbreaking the iPhone costs nothing and is done by the owner/user of the device.

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Jobs Horns

@J 3

Yes, it does.

"Official" untethered iPhones are not the same as jailbroken ones, you can still only install apps that have the personal blessing of the Lord Jobs.

Jailbreaking a tethered phone is a two part process. The first part involves opening the thing up so that you can load and run apps that don't come from the App Store (heresy, heresy, such things do not exist), the second bit involves loading and running the hacks that remove the SIM tie.

Since Apple already ship untethered phones, it's obvious that what they're really worried about here is not getting their pound of flesh at the App Store and St Stevie's wallet becoming almost indetectably less heavy.

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Awesome FUD

Beware, Mr Ballmer, your long rule as king of FUD is officially OVER! Never, in the entire history of FUD, have Micro$oft's heroic efforts managed to approach this superlative effort by Assh^H^H^H Apple. SCO, Phorm, MS, look on and weep. Apple just raised the bar on you all!

(Now wouldn't it be fun to lock Darl, Kent, Mr Ballmer and Mr Jobs in a lift for a day and see who came out alive? :)

Of course, it is just possible that the makers of the alien-compatible mothership-destroying laptop in Independence Day, know something about their hardware that we all don't. Maybe iPhones should all be banned in case they destroy civilisation?

Nah, it's FUD. If it looks like it, smells like it and feels like it, it probably is ..it. But if it were possible to raise FUD to the status of an art form, Apple have just done it.

Awesome!

(There isn't a Epic FUD icon. Damn!)

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@ Atrox666

Be careful what you wish for!

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Jobs Halo

Ref Suburban inmate. A pedant writes....

"...many paragraphs of rebuttals of Jobs' idiocy (note the skilful use of the apostrophe) "

Sadly, unless I am missing a joke of some kind (entirely possible), your usage is inaccurate. The "s" in Jobs does not indicate a plural (though this may be the joke I'm missing). In that case, it should be "Jobs's idiocy".

O

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@ Giles jones // a bigger fuss then necc.

The reason why there is such a fuss is the network lock-in. I'm not sure how much longer this will wash in Europe.

All i want to do is use my iphone on a local network in my new country. It pisses me off that im paying out every month on a contract i dont even use any more, but i knew the deal when i signed it.

But the effort i have to through to make it work on a local network and not O2 is so high, in terms of ensuring I get the right jailbreak, dont update untill new version has been jailbroken, etc.

Any other device is unlockable, very very easily. you can take your nokia device into any dodgy electronics shop or market or even do it yourself, and people want to, should be, and do do this becaue i believe its legal and they want to use the device they own on with a new network because they realised just how shit thier current provider is. or sell it, whatever.

But in terms of modifying the device, and jailbreaking for these reasons, I dont think it really makes any difference to anyone who wants to do it, and agree that apple should want to protect thier IP and integrity by making sure they have control over thier platform. Anyone who wants it a different way, go and join in on the open source party and make your own OS.

Its hardly any user who is bothered about jailbreaking or modifying mobiles for this reason, out of akll my friends, none i would say were geeks, i know one who has gone to the effort to flash his nokia, or jailbreak an iphone.

So regarless on what the EULA says if you are going to do it, you will do it, and you will do it either because you want to steal applications, or more likely (I hope) because you are someone who is really into mobile and innovation, and you want to play about with stuff which in turn will probably end up with you creating something really great.

So What Im saying is, Im not arsed about os only being Licensed to me to be used, I'll jailbreak/hack/Reverse engineer/whatever anyway and I think APPL expect it, because they ahve probably done it themselves. But Im really fucked off about the effort it takes to use my phone on another network.

Apple, do youself a favour and sperate these two elements, make it easy to unlock the device from the network and Ill tell you now that most users will only really be arsed about going on another network, and not fucking around with the device.

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Black Helicopters

writers?

They got the daily mail's best story writers to talk about the hazards.

Anonymopus because I'd love to be able to contact drug dealers more easily

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Silver badge

could, may, possibly

The 21st century's weasel words strike again. Rather that actually coming out and making a definitive statement - showing confidence, leadership and certainty, we have yet another wishy-washy company trying to scare the ignorant, but powerful with a stream of invective that contains nothing except a few unsubstantiated (and possibly borderline xenophobic) horror stories. It plays on their lack of knowledge, common sense or practical experience, by waving the spectre of modern-day (but probably non-existent) boogie-men at the media, without making any sort of appraisal of the likelihood, of such a threat every materialising.

It would be reasonable to question their motives - which one could guess are less concerned with a few baddies making free calls (and thus bringing about the downfall of freedom, capitalism and the american way of life) than with their own well-being and profits.

What I can't understand is how this company can still garner such a mass of uncritical infatuation, given it's obviously restrictive terms of business, closed designs and unwillingness to let others share and improve it's products. Don't they teach the fable of a Wolf in sheep's clothing, any more?

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FAIL

Funny if it backfired on them....

Apple might decide to keep thier stupid traps shut in future if the FCC slapped a ban on selling iPhones until the clearly vulnerable and insecure OS is modified so that the network isn't at risk...

I have and iPhone (un-jailbroken) and it's just fine, but honestly you just wish they would shut up sometimes and stop looking like a bunch of arses.

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Pint

Survey

Other things drug dealers and smugglers can do :

Use ANY phone to make phonecalls or send text messages to any other phones. Especially those disposable ones and sattelite ones with built-in scrambling and encoding.

Use the Internet to place orders on anonymous bbs or even in plain sight using code words.

Use VoIP, which even Mossad cannot evesdrop on. Skype (for instance) > Russia.

Apple should move to make jailbroken phones illegal, the police could then stop and hassle anyone they see using an iPhone, just in case. The iPhone and its owner could be taken down to the station for the phone to be checked to make sure it wasn't jailbroken and that it didn't contain any pictures of anything that terrorists could use.

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Jobs Horns

Ah, reminds me of the good old times...

...when connecting an _unlicensed_ modem (maxing out at 300 baud, natch) to the AT&T/Bell/PTT landline networks was considered with utmost horror and prohibited by law. After all, the whole switch building could have exploded or worse, a technician might had to be called out.

"The iPhone software is like Job's liver. It needs to be replaced."

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Jobs Horns

I don't BELIEVE it!!!!

What, no comments about the Blue Box????

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_box_%28phreaking%29

"Some of the more famous pranksters were Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, founders of Apple Computer. "

Sheesh, you kids need to pay attention in History and stop texting.

Of course, GSM security is based on a lot more than access to the client-side radio and Apple's response is pure bullshit. They want to stop jailbreaking because they want to protect their $$$$ app income, pure and simple.

Maybe when Steve was busy making free calls on the BlueBox Woz made for him he was careful not to inhale?

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WTF?

I'm confused.

You can buy iPhones, unlocked, from the Apple store in Sydney. Oddly, this is due to our consumer laws, not every iPhone user being a coke-snorting poser.

No, wait...

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Anonymous Coward

Most Amusing Quote Snippet Of The Week

"Hell ive taken shits that have done more damage to the ecosystem then a jailbroken iPhone would do to it's ecosystem"

This gets my vote. Class.

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