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Apple Patents Remotely Disabling Jailbroken Phones 381

Posted by Soulskill
from the trying-to-put-the-break-in-jailbreak dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple yesterday applied for a patent to allow remotely disabling electronic devices when 'unauthorized usage' is detected. The patent application covers using the camera to take pictures of the unauthorized user and using GPS to determine location, and it involves ascertaining whether the phone has been hacked or jailbroken, using those as criteria for detecting 'suspicious behavior.' The patent would allow the carrier or any other 'authorized' party to disable or restrict the functionality of the device. Is this Apple's latest tool to thwart jailbreaking?"
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Apple Patents Remotely Disabling Jailbroken Phones

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  • by jornak (1377831) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:22AM (#33313448)

    ...doesn't mean it's legal, right?

    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:26AM (#33313524)
      They applied for a patent, they weren't granted one. I'm sure there is plenty of prior art on this type of thing (the cable monopolies come to mind with disabling set-top boxes or the like).
      • Yeah - thats what I was thinking.

        They're trying to patent the idea of disabling something remotely? Who here has ever used Blackberry Enterprise Server?

        • by tverbeek (457094) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:54AM (#33313938) Homepage

          No, they're trying to patent methods for determining when to disable something remotely. Jailbreaking was just one of the clues they would look at, along with other things that might indicate that the phone has been stolen... something the anonymous submitter either didn't understand, or chose to misrepresent.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ravenshrike (808508)

            Which has been done with cars for how long? Still not novel.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, 2010 @11:27AM (#33314436)

            B.S. No operator better determine that my phone has been stolen without me reporting it so. Unless apple retains ownership of the device, I suggest they stick their patent where the sun doesn't shine.

          • by T Murphy (1054674) on Friday August 20, 2010 @11:53AM (#33314792) Journal
            Maybe there is a legitimate use for this patent, but I'm sure Apple would love to make people believe their iPhone will get disabled if they jailbreak it. I wouldn't be surprised if this patent is in part for scare tactics like this.
            • by Pinky's Brain (1158667) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:19PM (#33315146)

              They don't care about scaring people at the moment. Jailbreaking helps drive adoption. Apple uses the same trick as Microsoft did in the past, they modulate how easy/convenient it is to pirate/jailbreak their shit to maximize earnings. Once they decide it's no longer to their benefit they will really start doing their best and they won't need scare tactics ... it will simply become nearly impossible.

              Look at how long it takes for the PS3 to get cracked (still no mod chip available) with the glitching hardware flaw known ... if the glitching had proven impossible someone would have to had to reverse engineer the hardware at the transistor level to even come up with a possible attack, which at this point in time is getting too fucking hard to consider if you're not the NSA.

              Any hardware protection can be cracked, that doesn't mean it's always going to stay easy enough for it to happen. So whoever supports them because they can still have freedom on the device through jailbreaking, you should really reconsider ... if all the competitors disappear and Apple locks down their hardware we will all be fucked. They are a far more insidious and dangerous company to have as a monopolist than Microsoft ever was.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        If Google has to remotely brick the Andoid phones because of the unauthorized usage of Oracle's patents, will they have to licence this technology to be able to do it legally?
      • by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:43AM (#33313786)

        There is indeed a ton of prior art. There are quite a few Symbian applications that enable the 'owner' to do pretty much what the apple patent describes. Also my N900 has a fairly sophisticated script that sets up a reverse tunnel over 3G automatically if the SIM card is changed - once logged in I can do sudo rm -rf /* if I feel destructive - though in reality I'd grab a few good GPS fixes and then retrieve my property.

    • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:27AM (#33313544)

      ...doesn't mean it's legal, right?

      On the contrary, because it's patented, it is now illegal for anybody else to do this, which is a good thing :-)

      So, from now on, as long as you avoid the iPhone like the plague it is, you should be safe against the threat of your phone manufacturer spying on you...

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Zeek40 (1017978)
        No, it means that it's illegal for anybody else to do it without paying apple royalties. Since this isn't a feature that sane or rational consumers would actually want on their phones, I don't see why apple wouldn't license this patent to all the other authoritarian moneygrubbers out there, especially since being the only ones remotely breaking their customers phones would probably be viewed as a bad thing. The more companies they license this patent to (if they are awarded it) the better apple looks in c
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Hi. My name is AppleFanboy. I see this patent as Steve Jobs dick gently caressing and protecting me form what other evil companies might do. Nothing to see here. Move along.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Z00L00K (682162)

          What's more worrying is if they actually have implemented it or are going to.

          This means that it's possible that persons with malicious intent can also intentionally disable the devices if such functionality exists.

          And another issue - vendors can now remotely kill devices that they consider to be too old to force users to buy a new one.

        • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Friday August 20, 2010 @11:09AM (#33314184)

          Jesus there are a lot of people out there that think they are freaking experts on this stuff.

          let's start with your first sentence

          No, it means that it's illegal for anybody else to do it without paying apple royalties.

          1. It's not illegal, it would be a civil issue. 2. If Apple is granted the patent they may license it or may not, and they may or may not charge royalties. Since you are an expert in this area you surly realize that the majority of these filings are defensive, right? That the primary purpose of most of these is so that when a patent troll comes after the deep pocket company like Apple that Apple can say we have patents in this area as well?

          Since this isn't a feature that sane or rational consumers would actually want on their phones

          Really? Since I'm certain that you read the application as I did, then you will see that this is a feature that a lot of people would like to have, including myself. I want them to be able to figure out who douche bag is who stole my phone, where they are and brick the device

          Maybe it's because I haven't had my morning coffee yet, but there is something irritating about sitting down to read /. in the morning and first thing reading a bunch of posts by people that clearly haven't bothered to read the article (I know, this is /. and I shouldn't really expect anyone to read anything) and spouting off bullshit as if it were the gospel.

          Now, RTFA and get off of my lawn.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by camperdave (969942)
        So, from now on, as long as you avoid the iPhone like the plague it is, you should be safe against the threat of your phone manufacturer spying on you...

        Hahahaha! [wipes tear] Oh, man. I needed that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by click2005 (921437) *

      Thats for lawyers to spend 4 or 5 years deciding. By then it wont matter because even
      if Apple loses they'll get fined a few thousand in money off vouchers. Easily worth it
      to stop jailbreaking for a few years.

    • by beelsebob (529313) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:35AM (#33313684)

      The headline is massively misleading, they've patented remotely disabling devices that the device has detected has been stolen, not jailbroken phones.

      Stupid slashdot is stupid^H^H^H^H^H filled with anti-apple trolls.

  • by Improv (2467)

    1) Unauthorised by whom?
    2) Didn't a school district try this recently and get some bad press for it?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Library of Congress just ruled on the DMCA that there is no "unauthorized" use of a damn smart phone...

      Dont you love it when companies try to re-write laws and claim they are in the green?

    • by Rijnzael (1294596)
      I'm sincerely hoping "unauthorized person" means "the guy who stole it from the owner". If that were all this functionality were to be used for, and it were solely at the control of the device's owner, then I would be very interested. I mean, we already have remote wipe, but this other functionality would actually be useful in catching anyone who steals the phone and could potentially have received sensitive or personal data on it.
      • Read the patent, this section in particular:

        In some embodiments, an unauthorized user can be detected by noting particular activities that can indicate suspicious behavior. For example, activities such as entering an incorrect password a predetermined number of times in a row, hacking of the electronic device, jailbreaking of the electronic device, unlocking of the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, or moving a predetermined distance away from a synced device can be used to detect an unauthorized user.

        Emphasis mine.

        • by voidptr (609)

          That doesn't answer the parent's question. It's being used as an input to consider whether it's unauthorized, not that that action itself makes it unauthorized.

          If I have a 6 month old phone that I always guess the passcode correctly, and all of a sudden can't remember it, jailbreak it, swap the sim card, and it ends up in Montana, there's some strong circumstantial evidence someone just stole it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Flea of Pain (1577213)

            Or you sold it.

          • by Patch86 (1465427) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:06PM (#33314990)

            So just to clarify. If I swap the sim card in my jailbroken phone while I'm on holiday, the good folks at Apple (or my carrier) will start taking photos, sound recordings and GPS records of me.

            Are they going to ask my permission first? If so, why not just wait until the user phones up and reports their phone stolen, rather than try to Sherlock Holmes their inputs to determine whether it has been stolen?

            I don't really want my carrier randomly taking pictures and sound recordings of me so that some analyst somewhere can have a gaze and see if I look like a robber. What if it takes pictures of it's child owner naked, or records a conversation which discusses bank details, or an employee discussing trade secrets or what not?

            Sounds very iffy to me.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mysidia (191772)

      A school district tried this and barely avoided having officials brought before a grand jury and indicted.

      Perhaps we will get to see Mr. Jobs wearing iStripes in the iPrison? Or iPrisonUniform in the iAlcatrez.

  • It's probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:23AM (#33313470) Homepage Journal

    a security measure for stolen iPhones.

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      Yeah, I know it's a little crazy to suggest looking at what it being patented instead of reading the article summary, but the focus of this application are the techniques they might use to determine whether the person using the phone is the owner (or someone else on the owner's "approved user" list), or someone else. The technology to just brick a jailbroken phone is pretty trivial... and not the subject of this patent application.

      • Yeah, I know it's a little crazy to suggest looking at what it being patented instead of reading the article summary...

        Nah, this /.; where reality need not intrude on forming an opinion without RTFA.

    • Here's the important text of the patent:

      FIELD OF THE INVENTION

      [0001]This relates to systems and methods for identifying unauthorized users of an electronic device. In particular, this relates to systems and methods for detecting an unauthorized user, gathering information related to the electronic device, the unauthorized user, or both, and transmitting an alert notification to a responsible party for the electronic device.

      BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

      [0002]People often possess and carry around a variety of electronic devices, such as, for example, cellular phones, PDA's, personal e-mail or messaging devices (e.g., a Blackberry.TM.), and handheld media players (e.g., an iPod.TM.). Many of these electronic devices are used frequently by their owners, and the electronic devices may contain personal or sensitive information stored within them. For example, the electronic devices may contain information such as credit card numbers, passwords, social security numbers, bank information, contact lists, or calendar information. Accordingly, if the electronic device is lost or stolen, the loss of the electronic device can be exceedingly disruptive to the owner's peace of mind and security. Thus, the owner may desire to find out where the lost electronic device is located or who may have gained possession of or stolen the electronic device.

      SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

      [0003]Systems and methods for identifying unauthorized users of an electronic device are provided. In particular, systems and methods for detecting an unauthorized user, gathering information related to the electronic device, the unauthorized user, or both, and transmitting an alert notification to a responsible party for the electronic device are provided.

      [0004]In some embodiments, an unauthorized user can be detected by comparing the identity of the current user to the identities of authorized users of the electronic device. For example, a photograph of the current user can be taken, a recording of the current user's voice can be recorded, the heartbeat of the current user can be recorded, or any combination of the above. The photograph, recording, or heartbeat can be compared, respectively, to a photograph, recording, or heartbeat of authorized users of the electronic device to determine whether they match. If they do not match, the current user can be detected as an unauthorized user.

      [0005]In some embodiments, an unauthorized user can be detected by noting particular activities that can indicate suspicious behavior. For example, activities such as entering an incorrect password a predetermined number of times in a row, hacking of the electronic device, jailbreaking of the electronic device, unlocking of the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, or moving a predetermined distance away from a synced device can be used to detect an unauthorized user.

      [0006]In some embodiments, when an unauthorized user is detected, information related to the current user of the electronic device (e.g., the unauthorized user), the current user's operation of the electronic device, the electronic device's location, or any combination of the above can be gathered. For example, information such as the current's user's photograph, a voice recording of the current user, screenshots of the electronic device, keylogs of electronic device, communication packets (e.g., Internet packets) served to the electronic device, location coordinates of the electronic device, or geotagged photos of the surrounding area can be gathered.

      [0007]Instead or in addition, when an unauthorized user is detected, various functions of the electronic device can be restricted. For example, access to particular applications can be restricted, access to sensitive information can be restricted, sensitive information can be erased from the electronic device, or any combination of the above.

      [0008]In some embodiments, an alert notification can be sent to a responsible party when an unauthorized user is detected. The "responsible party" can be any persons suitable to receive the alert notification, such as, for example, the owner of the electronic device, proper authorities or police, persons listed in a contact book in the electronic device, or any combination of the above. In some embodiments, the alert notification can be a general warning that an unauthorized user has been detected (e.g., "Warning, your electronic device may have been stolen"). In some embodiments, the alert notification can contain any of the information gathered in response to an unauthorized user being detected (e.g., photographs, voice recordings, screenshots, geotagged photographs, or any other gathered information).

      [0009]The alert notification can be transmitted to the responsible party through any suitable medium. For example, the alert notification can be sent as a voicemail, phone call, text message, e-mail, or facsimile. As another example, the alert notification can be sent through any suitable VoIP application (e.g., Skype.TM. or Windows.TM. Live Messenger), instant messaging application (e.g., AOL Instant Messenger.TM. or MSN Messenger.TM.), on-line profile application (e.g., Facebook.TM. or Friendster.TM.), blog application (e.g., Twitter or Xanga.TM.), or "cloud" server (e.g., sent to a Mobile Me account associated with the owner of the electronic device).

    • Except that it clearly states that it covers "hacked" and "jailbroken" phones in the patent text [patentvest.com]:

      3 . The method of claim 1, wherein determining further comprises: identifying a particular activity performed by the current user that indicates suspicious behavior.

      4 . The method of claim 3, wherein the particular activity comprises one or more of hacking the electronic device, jailbreaking the electronic device, unlocking the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, and moving at
  • Just don't buy Apple products anymore. End of story.
  • You'll never hear their electric cars pull up to you while you're busy playing that homebrew game and four muscular guys with horn-rimmed glasses step out to beat you up with their Einstein-tatooed gigantic arms...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... to hate on Apple and never purchase any of their products on principle.

  • Bad Summary? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mark72005 (1233572) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:24AM (#33313488)
    It doesn't say the countermeasures would be used BECAUSE the phone is jailbroken, just that this is one of the data it could ascertain. Right?
    • by tverbeek (457094)

      Absolutely correct.

    • I guess it's in there because if I stole an iPhone and wanted to get to the data jailbreaking it and gaining root access would probably be the first step. That's the way it works, right ? Get physical access + privilege escalation = getting the data.
      So if you reported a phone stolen using this process you could A: see if they are trying to access the data on it by jailbreaking, B: snap a picture of the perpetrator, and get his location. Or, you know, Apple could be trying to lead us into a dystopian future

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't that kind of action be in violation of the recent ruling that made such actions as jailbreaking legal on personally owned devices? I understand its a warranty violation, but that shouldn't mean that it should allow apple to restrict usage, etc.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sabre307 (451605)

      Unfortunately the law also allows for a private contract between a company and an individual. Although there is no criminal implications to jailbreaking your phone, there may be implications from the TOS contract that you entered into when activating the phone through AT&T/Apple. Personally, I believe that a law should be passed that states you have the right to do whatever you see fit with something that you have purchased. Though I wholly support AT&T's right to restrict your access to their netwo

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      RTFA. Apple is not saying the intend to brick phones just for being jailbroken. They are talking about technology for determining when a phone has been stolen (or similar unauthorized use). I can understand people saying they don't want Apple doing this for them, but the idea itself isn't Evil. As someone whose phone was stolen.... gosh, I can see a certain appeal to it.

    • Wouldn't that kind of action be in violation of the recent ruling that made such actions as jailbreaking legal on personally owned devices? I understand its a warranty violation, but that shouldn't mean that it should allow apple to restrict usage, etc.

      It may be legal for you to do something, but that doesn't automatically make it illegal for a company to try to stop you or slow you down if you want to use their services. Until the courts explicitly tell them to stop or tell them what they're doing is illegal, they can continue on. Since the iPhone is tied to services (cellphone, iTunes, etc) they probably have some wiggle room

      To use the often-hated car analogy... It's perfectly legal for me to upgrade my car: throw a turbo-charger, or a super-charger i

    • by gnasher719 (869701) on Friday August 20, 2010 @11:51AM (#33314750)

      Wouldn't that kind of action be in violation of the recent ruling that made such actions as jailbreaking legal on personally owned devices? I understand its a warranty violation, but that shouldn't mean that it should allow apple to restrict usage, etc.

      It is completely legal for you to use your credit card today in Moscow, tomorrow in Sidney, and they day after in Tokio, each time buying a 50 inch TV. Completely legal. But the credit card company will lock down your card, because it is much more likely that there is fraud going on and it isn't actually you buying the TVs.

  • FUD (Score:4, Informative)

    by ViViDboarder (1473973) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:25AM (#33313506)
    Reading this it becomes instantly apparent that "unauthorized use" is referring to users of stolen devices.

    Jailbreaking is already legal. What use would it be to take a photo of a jailbroken user?

    Theft is not legal. It would be VERY useful to have a photo of the user of a stolen device.
    • Re:FUD (Score:5, Funny)

      by bsDaemon (87307) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:28AM (#33313570)

      Jailbreaking is already legal. What use would it be to take a photo of a jailbroken user?

      If someone broke out of jail and got their hands on an iphone, I imagine having a picture and location information would be very useful to the police. But that's probably not what you meant.

    • Re:FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ViViDboarder (1473973) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:30AM (#33313614)
      Key points from TFA backing me up...
      • Claim 4 mentions jailbreaking but looks like they refer to it as a method of potential vulernability
      • Claim 10 refers to transfering sensitive user information to a remote site and then clearing the device of said information
      • Most glaring is claim 13 which refers to comparing heartbeats of the current using a heartbeat sensor and comparing it with a library of AUTHORIZED USERS

      This whole post is straight FUD.

      • Most glaring is claim 13 which refers to comparing heartbeats of the current using a heartbeat sensor and comparing it with a library of AUTHORIZED USERS

        Does this mean there's finally a method for preventing my cat from randomly dialing people in my contact list? It's about time!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by glittermage (650813)
      Jail breaking is considered legal under US law. However, nothing stops a carrier from determining that jail breaking violates your service agreement & then taking action against offending device.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

      Jailbreaking is a means of circumventing DRM. Ask the console modders how "legal" that is.

      What they could do is detect that the phone has been hacked, then "brick" it on the assumption that is stolen or being used to pirate material.

    • by linumax (910946)
      I agree that this reeks of FUD, however,

      Jailbreaking is already legal. What use would it be to take a photo of a jailbroken user?

      Voiding the warranty. Today, I can easily jailbreak and restore my phone as many times as I like without Apple noticing. In the new model, as soon as they suspect jailbreaking, they can take a picture and the next time I go to them to bug them about shitty reception, they'd tell me that my warranty is void (with proof) and they can't do anything to help me.

    • My guess is that in many countries it is completely illegal to make an unauthorized photo of someone (possibly under "delicate circumstances") even if this person has stolen something. Just because someone is a thief doesn't mean that he looses all of his rights -- in Europe at least, I don't know about the US.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Reading this it becomes instantly apparent that "unauthorized use" is referring to users of stolen devices.

      Yeah and it ties in nicely with the stories that turn up from time to time of people getting their stolen laptop back because they snapped a picture of the thief and did an ip lookup, or people getting iPhones back using the already existing GPS lookup called, appropriately enough "Find My iPhone" [apple.com]. Here's just one example [gizmodo.com] ("Stolen MacBook Victim Uses Screen Sharing and iSight to Bust Thieves") and there's already a product which does this for macs called Undercover [orbicule.com].
      Guess Apple likes the idea and wants it on

    • If you work on Wall street.

      -Rick

  • Stolen phones (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:25AM (#33313510)

    Ummm, isn't this probably intended for stolen phones?

    • Ummm, isn't this probably intended for stolen phones?

      According to the patent filing, yeah. Or any stolen electronic device, such as an iPod.

      Speaking as someone who had an iPod Touch stolen this year, I'm not that concerned about it being wiped if it's stolen -- I'd rather it send pictures of the thief to the police or at least waterboard the fucker. Is that so much to ask, Apple?

  • Just about any radio system with some sort of ident signalling (5-tone, MDC, MPT1327, whatever) allows you to stun radios remotely, locking out all functions until they are either unstunned with the appropriate code or reprogrammed by the dealer. On many radios you can "kill" them by telling them to wipe their programming, requiring all the frequencies and idents to be programmed back in.

  • by Rijnzael (1294596)
    Apple's image will certainly survive a scandal resulting from the actual implementation of something in the vein of the patent application. I mean, spying on the possessor of hardware you provide because you're somehow suspicious of them has worked out well in the past [boingboing.net].

    And they're tracking the GPS location of the 'suspicious user'? What, do they plan to send the police at them as soon as they detect jail breaking? Apple really wants to open this legal can of worms?
  • Well, at least Google never does anything evil. Oh, wait..

  • Wait! This is good news: by patenting, Apple prevents HTC, Nokia, Moto and all the others from bricking your phone when you unlock it. All the more reason for buying an open phone.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      NO they don't. all those companies could come up to there own way of doing it, or licenses it from Apple.

  • The patent would allow the carrier or any other 'authorized' party to disable or restrict the functionality of the device.

    The patent would not allow disabling. Apple already have the ability to block any device that they like to brick (which I belive is illegal, although IANAL). The patent would prevent other producers to sell similarly trapped devices without paying some "fee" to Apple. Having a patent to a method does not mean you are legally entiteled to use that method.

  • by hsmith (818216) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:28AM (#33313574)
    'unauthorized usage' means a lot of things. It *could* mean jailbroken, but - to those with a brain - it means the ability to remote wipe your phone, find it if it is stolen, etc. Remote wipe is crucial on the enterprise. While I question the validity of the patent (how long has RIM had remote wipe?), the actions are valid. Jailbreaking is legal, there is nothing Apple can do to that, so get over it.
  • Macbooks suck when comparing their anti-theft features compared to Windows notebooks. Apple already has Find My iPhone for MobileMe subscribers but it's not very good. In this case if a phone is reported stolen it can take a picture of whoever finds it for easier identification by police

    but imagine you're reading 1984 in iBooks and your phone suddenly starts saying "You are the dead" when Winston and his girlfriend are about to be arrested in the hotel. that would be a cool easter egg in the latest version

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      Business PC laptops have a good amount of security features to deal with theft:

      1: BitLocker + TPM. This keeps the thief out of the onboard data while the laptop owner doesn't have to remember anything more than his AD account password.

      2: LoJack for Laptops. On Dells and HPs, once activated, this stays present forever, especially newer models where it persists even if the motherboard is reflashed. With this installed, it isn't hard for a business to remotely zero out the Documents directory, then kill t

  • by Java Pimp (98454) <java_pimp@nOSPAM.yahoo.com> on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:30AM (#33313610) Homepage

    This has nothing to do with Jailbroken phones. Where did the "anonymous reader" come up with that crap? From the first sentence in the abstract "This is generally directed to identifying unauthorized users of an electronic device." And nowhere in TFA does it say anything about Jailbroken phones. This is simply a twist on lojack.

  • Is it something in a past or future version of iOS?
    I learnt my lesson... bought an iPhone 2 years ago... it will be my last Apple product. Ever.
  • Huh? Didn't Slashdot publish a story just a couple of months ago about the same capability in the Motorola Droid? Maybe Apple's lawyers don't read Slashdot.
  • by FudRucker (866063) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:41AM (#33313752)
    make it illegal for Apple & Microsoft and any other company to shutdown or "brick" a cellphone or game console any other product...

    now as far as any modded product if someone mods the hardware that is legal but they might void the warranty and apple or microsoft or whoever can block it from their online service but they can not legally sabotage the product when it trys to connect, (just block it from connecting) the owner of the modded hardware are free to use some other service (which jailbreaking and modding was intended to accomplish anyway)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Graff (532189)

      make it illegal for Apple & Microsoft and any other company to shutdown or "brick" a cellphone or game console any other product...

      It already IS illegal to shutdown a product that you don't own. That is, unless the person has GIVEN you the right to shutdown the device. If you don't want someone else to have the ability to legally shut down your device then DON'T GIVE THEM THE RIGHT!

      If they won't sell you the device without giving away that right then simply don't buy the device.

      It's actually pretty straightforward.

  • by sammy baby (14909) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:43AM (#33313800) Journal

    "Apple yesterday applied for patent to allow remotely disabling electronic devices when 'unauthorized usage' is detected. The patent application covers using the camera to take pictures of the unauthorized user and using GPS to determine location, and it involves ascertaining whether the phone has been hacked or jailbroken, using that as criteria for detecting 'suspicious behavior.' The patent would allow the carrier or any other 'authorized' party to disable or restrict the functionality of the device. Is this Apple's latest tool to thwart jailbreaking?"

    This is why we should be able to rate stories -1 Troll.

    Nothing in the linked article references jailbreaking. This looks way more like remote disabling for stolen phones - the same way that OnStar customers can call to say that their car has been stolen.

    The specific means of identifying whether or not the current user is the one who is supposed to be operating the device is discussed, and in that context:

    The method of [identifying a particular activity indicating a suspicious behavior], wherein the particular activity comprises one or more of hacking the electronic device, jailbreaking the electronic device, unlocking the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, and moving at least a predetermined distance away from a synced device.

    So in other words, if someone steals your iPhone, they won't be able to thwart anti-theft devices by jailbreaking your phone or yanking the SIM.

  • If the makers of all the other phones actually have to pay a licensing fee to Apple to disable jailbroken phones, they probably won't bother to - for lack of a better metaphor - "put them in jail" in the first place.

    .
  • I think a certain school district can claim "prior art"

    http://yro.slashdot.org/submission/1310370/Feds-No-charges-in-Philadelphia-school-laptop-spy [slashdot.org]
  • Wasn't it ruled that jailbreaking is legal?

    So disabling a jailbroken phone would be 'destruction of property' or something like that.

  • when they detect that you have purchased gasoline from a non-GM approved gas station.
  • Patent "allows" ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Paradise Pete (33184)

    The patent would allow the carrier or any other 'authorized' party to disable or restrict the functionality of the device.

    That makes it sound like the patent would be some sort of legal precedent establishing law. That makes no sense. Patents don't "allow" actions, they restrict them.

  • Legalities... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert@@@slashdot...firenzee...com> on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:55AM (#33313946) Homepage

    This technology sounds quite useful if you assume "unauthorised use" to mean "use of the phone by someone who has stolen it"...

    After all, at least in the US jailbreaking is explicitly legal, so spying on a jailbreaker could in itself be an illegal act.

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