Apple applies for anti-Jailbreak [spy] patent

Hmm … is Apple doing us a favor by making it easier for us to control a stolen iPhone, or are they just trying to discourage people from Jailbreaking their phones?

Jailbreaking Apple’s iPhones has has a lot of publicity of late with new tools making it easier than ever before to unlock the iPhone so it can be used across networks and have any apps installed.  Now though Apple have applied for a patent that could allow them to remotely disable any iPhones that are being used for an “unauthorised” purpose.

The patent, which is intended to be able to disable stolen handsets was submitted on Friday and is called “systems and methods for identifying unauthorized users of an electronic device”.  It outlines a way to identify Jailbroken iPhones or iPads or ones that have been reported as stolen (Apple are obviously making the assumption that any stolen phone will need to be unlocked before it’s disabled by the carrier network).

It details many different methods for identifying the devices and the person with that device.  These include recording the users voice, taking photos or detecting the heartbeat of the user.  It also details how GPS could be used to track the handset.

The patent also details methods by which the genuine user of the phone could be notified of this through email or services such as Facebook.

Functions would be restricted, it says, including contacts, calendars, browsers and any and all functionality that either contains personal information or could run up a bill for the user.

While the patent is clearly aimed at averting the huge crime-wave surrounding the iPhone, it’s also a good way for Apple to identify Jailbroken devices and this raises the question that if you’ve paid for it, and own it, why shouldn’t you be alowed to do what you like with it?

If this all seems a little machiavellian to you then you’re probably not alone.

Source : Slashdot


© Mike Halsey for gHacks Technology News, 2010. | Permalink | Add to del.icio.us, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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