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back to article Apple eyes kill switch for jailbroken iPhones

Apple has applied for a patent covering an elaborate series of measures to automatically protect iPhone owners from thieves and other unauthorized users. But please withhold the applause. The patent, titled “Systems and Methods for Identifying Unauthorized Users of an Electronic Device,” would also protect Apple against …

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you knew Apple biz model would bite them in the butt eventually

Even in the dark days of the late 90s when Apple was largely irrelevant their biz model has always been find a small group of people badly searching for an identity and way to be hip and then monetize the crap out of them. Yes they have always made whiz bang future looking stuff often of high quality but as an Apple customer you aren't buying a product, you're buying a lifestyle and you will pay and pay. Apple got lucky with the iPod and filled a niche Sony should have filled (worse mistake Sony ever made as consumer product company was buying movie and music studios). Now they have a large group of nuthuggers fans but lets see if they can keep the fad going while also taking away user rights and generally treating their customers like children.

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Sorry to disagree.

I bought Apple kit to get my work done.

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And what, pray...

can you only do on Apple that you could not do on Windows/Linux/whatever? Oh, of course, "I'm a creative, I have to have a Mac"

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Jobs Horns

Then my friend...

...you have a very strange work.

I defended Apple products for a very long time, owning some kit (some PowerMacs, some G3s, some G4s,...) myself but for now I couldn't recommend it to anyone.

The iPhone is getting more locked up, the PCs are way to expensive (except maybe the iMac) and with Windows 7 MS closed the gap.

So Apple is only a lifestyle, not something else...

And I hadn't a real software-problem with my Win/Linux-Intel-PCs for a very long time which hindered me working on something... Some hardware-faults, but they were repaired fast and successfull (which you can't say of the Apple-guarantee-procedures...)

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I don't have very strange work.

I'm a Mac trainer. I work on Macs. (like increasing numbers of others do).

You seem to assume that you can only do 'real' work on win or linux.

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It's really simple

see the next one.

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Jobs Horns

@next phone android

My 3Gs iPhone has been a nice experience for the most part, but coming from a 'dumb' phone previously and looking at the way things are unfolding, iPhones are laying out the nails for their own coffin!

They are prohibitively expensive in many parts of the world, where Android is not having the same control freak problems. Some US companies are global companies, Apple is a US company with interests abroad. Many US companies operate in that way, where what happens in the US is all that matters and all that is paid attention to.

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Black Helicopters

Ummm...

"Android is not having the same control freak problems"

I recommend you take a dose or reality, and call me in the morning... Google has already demonstrated this level of control freakery with their beloved android. It wasn't but a couple of months ago google showed of their ability to fiddle with ones device without the owners knowledge or consent when they nuked a pair of apps off of all android phones the world over without warning or notice, then justified it by saying the apps were nefarious in nature.

You better wake up and smell the stench of Orwellian control engulfing you... As captain Barbarossa would say "Dont be evil" is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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FAIL

Google more evil in some ways...

I was recently looking into how to access USB devices in both Android and the iPad. With Apple, you have to sign a godawful licensing agreement where you hand over 25-30% of your cash just to use the hardware interface (either dock or bluetooth).

However, with Android, it's even worse. You can't access USB at all as Google has removed all parts of the Linux kernel that allow a device to act as host.... Basically, you have to jailbreak the device and upgrade the kernel.

So, who's more evil? Don't know, they're both really bad and a step backwards vs traditional open platforms. Even MSFT was more open.

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not sure it's googles fault...

Isnt this all part of the FAT32 IP being owned by MS who after a zillion years of it being part of the Linux kernel suddenly upped and sued tom-tom for using it to manage upgrades?

Hardly the totalitarianism of comrade jobs if they are just covering their arses from a suit form redmond

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Jobs Horns

Just remembering

who that old Super Bowl Apple commercial identified as evil...

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Legality

This can't be legal, surely? Remotely activating device hardware to gather information without the user's explicit consent? That's the boundaries of at least two Acts of UK Parliament being pushed right there, and heaven knows what legislation in other countries this could fall foul of. Given what Google are currently going through following the accidental mining of tiny snippets of mostly useless WiFi data, pulling sound and video and location data on demand is likely to land Apple in some very hot water if this gets implemented. EULAs don't trump laws.

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? Legality

Since the US have just decided it is OK for a school to turn on remote monitoring so they can watch school girls in their bedrooms surely Apple would argue that they are perfectly entitled to monitor their cattle.

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Happy

title

"EULAs don't trump laws."

Corporate bribes tend to work though.

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But

Isn't there a diffeence between applying for a patent and actually using said patent?

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Indeed

Misuse of Computers Act 1990 section 3.

Criminal Damage Act 1971 section 1.

Go and look them up if you aren't convinced. Even the act of submitting the patent application seems to be in breach of CDA71 section 2.

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ummmm

I'm happy with Apple products - I draw pretty pictures on Macbook Pro, make phone calls on iPhone. This suits perfectly. However i understand that some people wish to "fit" out side of the box. As Stalin once said - We have filed for a patent that will prevent you to do so.

Writing this has questioned the commitment to the iSoviet from someone who is member for 15 years or so

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Opt out?

I have no problem with this if the owner of an i--- has the option of opting out of the program.

If Apple wants Stalinist control over their devices they should rent them to customers, not sell them to customers.

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No, opt in

No, opt out is NOT ok.

It would have to be opt in with full description of what you were agreeing to (not just "protect your phone,,,yes?").

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Jobs Horns

sod off jobs

fucking control freak

horny jobs cause it offends people

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Sailfish

Apple SUX!

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WTF?

But...

Surely Apple's vice grip of the device and it's functionality doesn't matter does it?

I mean, how *cool* is the iPhone?

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JDX
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The IDEA is cool

But the implementation is just wrong. Apple are going to get SUUUUUUUUUUUED!

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Much frothing and how predictable

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! What a rabid lot you are. Apple files a patent and the lunatics, very predictably, start barking at the moon. Good lord grow up why don't you. It is a patent filing, that is all. But the way you lot are ranting its as if this is happening in iOS 4.0.3. It isn't of course.

There are plenty of patents filed that will never see the light of day. Apple are well known for their disposition to file patents for all of their ideas. This is just another. What they actually deliver from it will be tempered and measured. They're not stupid as some of you would have believe.

There are plenty much worse than Apple could ever imagined to be. You might want to look closer to home, to who you all voted in to be your leaders.

Now thats is way more scary than any Apple patent.

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That whining sound you can hear...

...is either a chorus of fanbois practicing a defensive argument, or Albert Einstein spinning in his grave.

How can someone patent a speculative list of things they might do in a range of possible situations, when such a list could easily have been (and for all I know, actually was) generated by a couple of first-year computing students hanging out one night and drinking coffee?

Presumably they're just doing it for publicity, since it's hard to see how such a patent could ever hope to be be defended, but even on the publicity side, all they seem to be doing is make themselves look like a bunch of [insert genitalia of choice].

At the very best, they might be trying to suggest they're serious about the security of the various iStuff, but suggesting they might need to do more can just as easily make people scared about the security that already exists.

Thinking about recent comments elsewhere, maybe Apple should come up with a one-ring-to-rule-them-all RFID-based 'iRing', which prevents use of the phone except by the appropriate user.

They could even patent the idea.

The fact that it's not even slightly novel shouldn't be any barrier to them, since it would seem that they have some pretty 'tame' patent examiners.

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hmmmm

Why do people use jailbroken phones?

If people like it soooo much, why don't they use it as is.

I made the mistake of getting an iphone. I'll never do it again and as soon as my contract is over it'll be on ebay.

Isn't using a jailbroken phone also directly supporting the manufacturer's revenue stream?

x phones shifted is y dollars gained regardless of how they are used.

I suspect the people who use jailbroken phones are closet fanbois.

Ever wondered why an abused wife/girlfriend goes back to their man?

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WTF?

"removal of a SIM card”"?

So as to possibly stop secondhand sales of handsets? Swap the SIM and it's bricked?

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Grenade

Felony Hack

Need to go check the definition of this one i.e. accessing a computing device without the explicit authorisation of the owner and taking some action which disrupts the operation, disables, or retrieves data from the device. Sounds like jail time to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Prior Art???

Didn't some school in PA just get into trouble for taking pictures with equipment passed to their students? Maybe the school should sue Apple to recover some of the costs of the civil suit being brought against them.

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Thumb Down

You guys are so gullible...

It only requires the Register to patent trawl Apple's applications, then write some stupid 'what if' fantasy and you're all over the site moaning how evil Apple are. The idea of using it this way is the Register's not Apple's. The Register is whipping up stupid emotion to get you to come back and view the site more often and thus get more advertising revenue.

Get a clue.

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FAIL

Re: Gullible

I fail to see how El Reg's presentation of accurate quotes is causing me to be "whipped into a frenzy," furthering advertising revenue.

I read the articles to get the latest news with little regard to the actual topic - If I knew what the news already was today, I would not need to read a news site, no?

If I felt that the Register was no longer humourous or accurate, I would be off to one of those Murdock Approved(tm) paysites, eh?

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FAIL

The accurate quotes all refer to preventing use by thieves.

The bits that are raising so much ire by Reg readers are extrapolations by the author.

If you really believe so much in the Register's accuracy then you would probably ignore 90% of their postings about Apple.

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I don't understand the paranoid criticism here

All were looking at here folks is a more complicated password system that kills your phone when it gets lifted and takes a picture of the theif. It looks for malware the theif might be using to bypass security lockouts, anticipating that.

But because it's apple it must inherently be evil right? Heaven forbid they might actually hurt thieves.

If apple wanted to truly get jailbreakers, I'm sure they could do the same thing with less effort - scan the software on sync perhaps.

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Title

Who would steal a phone that can barely make calls while held comfortably?

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Dead Vulture

Really.......

Why would apple want to do this? Corporate/Government use. That group of customers actively WANT systems which detect unauthorised use and give their admins the ability to nuke phones remotely, under certain high security situations they may also want this decision to be made automatically and instantly without human intervention.

Get a grip guys, the concept of apple arbitrarily boxing users phones without permission because they jailbreak them is laughable.

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Sounds a good idea to me

Having been attacked & robbed of an iphone by a gang, it's frustrating that nothing could be done. So I'd be happy to see a remote disable feature that can be activated if requested by the phone's registered owner. The Police can block the phone from being used in the UK but they claim that stolen phones are just shipped off overseas. Though I wouldn't be surprised if the people involved are able to change the IMEI for continued UK use (they do so with other phones).

Remote killing Jailbroken phones is a stupid idea and will just result in more antagonism towards Apple.

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Go

D

Hey,

I think modern handsets can be killed permanently anyway, even if the sim is switched out. I know this is the case with my Blackberry and I assume that the iPhone (being such an expensive piece of equipment) must have a kill switch for the handset itself. Taking pictures and reporting back, etc is too Orwellian.

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Unhappy

Re: frustrated

"Having been attacked & robbed of an iphone by a gang, it's frustrating that nothing could be done."

That seriously sucks, dude. I feel for ya and appreciate that you place the blame on unsolved "normal, unsexy" crimes squarely where it belongs - on the Police.

If they are "too busy" to pop round to pick up and collar a thief when the stolen property is on display for sale in the front yard (still with the identifying markings and serial reported to the Police by the victim three doors down) and they are provided with photographs, GPS maps, a link to the ebay listing, etc; how can they be expected to *actually work* to find else?

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Grenade

ahh welcome to jobs 1984

i said this once before apple cultists are too much like scientology cultists.both like to take your money and then seek protection one as bussiness the other as religion and to top it all off they love control.both love to take your privicy away.

sorry but after reading user agreement for ipissed way back when it was released i decided to be very weary of any apple product.

as for scientology if it is not proven by science with varified theory its worthless.

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Boffin

Re: Scientology

Before this post gets UT'ed...

"...if it is not proven by science with varified theory its worthless."

And how do we expect them to prove that we are all possessed by ancient souls that were murdered by the Great Evil Xenu by crashing DC-3's into volcanoes on that beknighted backwater trash world we know as home?

If there *is* no hypothesis that a proof can even be ARTICULATED for, isn't that the definition of a religion?

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Happy

Read the article

It is a patent, nothing else. Apple, like so many other engineering companies have lots of patents that they never use, because it stops the competition from using the idea. Meanwhile the Reg writes a paranoid article, and like so many sheep or chicken lickens, you all go on a cyber rant. Good job the stall selling pitchforks and torches is closed for the summer.

It would not surprise me if Apple, again like so many other design or engineering companies have an incentive scheme that pays a nice little sum to the inventor, thereby encouraging lots of new ideas. I know I did. I got £450 from Lucas Industries for my little idea back in the 80's. They didn't have to give me anything, as it was invented during their paid time, but they did.

Now to the real news, the planned collapse of the dollar, whereby the US leaves its debts behind, and you all lose your pensions, saving, etc. Coming soon, about 18 months time.

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I'd be surprised if Apple did the things listed here..

I think the Author of this article is speculating somewhat.

First, Apple patent a *lot* of ideas. It does not follow that they always implement them

Second, any attempt by Apple to "spy" on their users in the way would violate many laws and would likely result in Apple themselves (and possibly Steve Jobs personally) facing criminal proceedings in many countries.. Remember what happened when those schools in America were found to be using the management software install on the laptops they gave students to activate the laptop's webcam remotely? You think Apple would want that kind of publicity?

Also, Apple appear to be saying that a large spike in Memory usage may be an indication of hacking. It might. It might also indicate the user has started a memory hungry application (like a game), so I don't see how that will help in security..

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It ain't all bad.

On the bright side, this'll encourage a whole new generation of users to learn to how to hack.

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Big Brother

Maybe they could flog their hardware as

"licenced, but not sold".

As an aside, I can't imagine what anyone sees in their overpriced, low-quality, non-repairable products. It seems pretty clear to me they are a bunch of evil corporate jerks.

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FAIL

jailbreaking the iphone

thats why i never like a company who locks there devices down which clearly apple has this issue il never buy a apple end of story give me android any day.

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Bod

Unauthorised use?

If I buy a phone it's got jack shit to do with the manufacturer what I do with it.

Would this patent prevent Blendtec from further blendage of iProducts, as surely that is unauthorised use too?

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Jobs Horns

end of the road

DEFINITELY never getting an iPhone at this point.

Actually, I gave up on Apple "ipods" when I got my iPod Touch and realized that due to them moving some connections over 0.5 mm from where they were on the iPod, none of my accessories were usable any more.

But this latest bit of assholery just confirms my decision.

Wow.

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Anonymous Coward

is this

where they realised nobody really used firewire, and switched to 5v usb charging. Then, in order to stop you frying you shiny new phone with 12v, they adjusted the connector slightly?

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No

It's about changing the space between the standard ipod connector and the headphone jack.

This messed up some peripherals that used both connectors at the same time.

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