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IOS Cellphones The Internet Apple Your Rights Online

iOS 9.3 Will Tell You If Your Employer Is Monitoring Your iPhone (mashable.com) 137

An anonymous reader writes: Nobody likes being monitored. But even if you suspected your company is following your activities on the iPhone, would you know where to check? In the next iteration of its smartphone operating system, iOS 9.3, Apple is looking to make this an easier task. According to Reddit user MaGNeTiX, the latest beta of iOS 9.3 has a message telling users their iPhone is being supervised. The message is as prominent as can be, both on the device's lock screen and in the About section. "This iPhone is managed by your organization," the message on the lock screen says. And in the About screen, you get a little more detail, with a message saying your iPhone's supervisor can monitor your Internet traffic and locate your device.
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iOS 9.3 Will Tell You If Your Employer Is Monitoring Your iPhone

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  • by JeffOwl ( 2858633 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @03:54PM (#51623917)
    My employer already has a notice on the lock screen about monitoring, but even if they didn't, anyone who has a device managed by their employer should assume it is being monitored unless proven otherwise.
    • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @04:01PM (#51623981)

      Sure it's obvious to technical people like us that a company issued phone is going to be monitored and administered remotely.

      But how many non-technical people would know enough to assume that? It's for those people the prominent message can help them think twice before doing something with the company device they may regret later,

      If you think about it, it's even helpful for technical people - because as you say, a technical user would assume a company phone would be monitored and controlled. So if you do NOT see this message on a company device you can ask your IT staff why the hell they are not using MDM to control the devices.

      • Why does one have to be technical in order to figure out that what s/he does on a company issued phone can be monitored by the employer? This much should be common sense, shouldn't it?
        • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @04:20PM (#51624161) Homepage

          If people had common sense, they wouldn't keep assuming things are common sense.

        • by mccrew ( 62494 )

          ... on a company issued phone ...

          Not just company issued phone. If you set up your personal device to check work mail, then it becomes subject to company policies, and is subject to monitoring and vulnerable to remote wipe. And the remote wipe clears the whole enchilada - your personal mail, your photos, your texts, everything - regardless whether it was corporate data or not. That part is not really obvious, and more people would care if they understood the full implications of checking work e-mail on their personal device.

          • by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @04:26PM (#51624217)

            This one I agree w/ you.

            I have 2 phones. One purely for personal use, another purely for work use (not issued by any employer, so b/w jobs, I keep using it for job searches & the like). My family doesn't know the number of the latter. My colleagues don't know the number of the first.

            If any employer needed me to BYOD, I'd take the latter and let them do what they wanted w/ it. My personal photos & stuff wouldn't live there. That way, I leave one phone at risk, while playing merrily w/ the other. I have reset this several times, and will.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Why would any employer *need* you to BYOD, rather than merely accept that you're doing so? And if that's a legitimate need, why on earth would you agree to let them do what they wanted with it? My employer either accepts my usage of my device unmolested, or provides one to be molested at corporate whim.

          • by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @04:48PM (#51624405)
            I had a bit of a row with management a couple of years back over this. They wanted me to install Outlook on my personal phone, and I refused because of the remote management capabilities. I don't care who you are, it's not your phone and I'm not going to give you the ability to remote wipe it, monitor me, have access to passwords, etc. If it's important enough that I need to be able to be contacted via cell phone, then give me a company phone expressly for that purpose and don't be surprised if it gets left at home when I go out.
            • I had a bit of a row with management a couple of years back over this...

              I'm the IT guy setting the company phones up for various staff. One of the managers decided he had a staff member who didn't quite warrant a phone, but needed to have access to email 24/7 (for some reason).

              When the staff member told me to fsk off, and leave his personal phone alone I didn't press it. And yes, I explained webmail to the manager.

          • Actually, it depends.

            In my case, I get company email on my personal phone. I know for fact that they do not monitor anything on it (though they do have the ability to wipe the email off it, and require a PIN). I'm pretty sure they could have cranked up AirWatch (urgh) and gone all Big Brother on it, but in my own experience, most companies don't.

            Usually, it's (ironically) cheaper in time, headaches, and in some cases even money, for the company to issue you, say, a Blackberry or similar cheap mid-range phon

            • "Hey boss, since we're communicating by email, I need your PIN so that I can wipe it "just in case." Just because you receive company email on your personal phone is no reason to give them the pin to your phone, any more than if anyone else sent you an email. If they don't like it, let them supply you with a company phone.

              I don't know about you, but my phone comes with a data plan - I don't need to use an employers wifi, so that's another reason to tell them to put it where the sun don't shine.

              And if it'

          • Exchange/ActiveSync can be configured to have various policies be placed on one's device before it allows the device to download/sync mail.

            One way to get around this is to use the Outlook app, or on Android, one of the other Exchange programs like Nine, Touchdown, RoadSync, or others, where if the organization decides to wipe the phone, just the app's data gets erased, not your entire device.

            There used to be a company called Divide which made a decent product that was good at separating work stuff from one'

          • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
            yeah, but all that personal stuff is backed up with rsync, right? Oh wait, you said IOS, not Android.
          • by illtud ( 115152 )

            Not just company issued phone. If you set up your personal device to check work mail, then it becomes subject to company policies, and is subject to monitoring and vulnerable to remote wipe.

            Wow, I never knew K9 mail was so advanced!

        • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

          This much should be common sense, shouldn't it?

          "Common sense" is another phrase for "knowledge it's assumed everyone has".
          You're overestimating the intelligence of people -- even those in jobs posh enough where the company gives you a cell phone.

        • If you are given company pencil or pad of paper would you assume it is monitored? How is a tablet substantially different to a truly non-technical user, like a salesperson or secretary?

          The point is some people truly have no idea what is possible, and/or are very naive.

        • A. Non-company issued phones may be monitored in some ways depending on how Exchange or other apps are configured
          B. Company-issued phones may NOT be monitored, depending on how the company has set things up.

          If my employer hands me a fresh boxed iPhone and says "have fun, here's the mail server settings", then there's a good chance my phone itself isn't being monitored.

          My company doesn't use MDM and gives us fresh phones. Out of the box they are usable, and not monitored. However, we cannot setup mail/calend

      • But how many non-technical people would know enough to assume that?

        All people who are not complete morons understand that your work-issued phone could be monitored. There is a certain "snob appeal" to saying "well, not everyone is technical", but the reality is that this isn't really valid. Everyone with even just several brain cells know a work phone is not for surfing porn or "whatever".

        This is a non-issue except for people that want to make issues were there are none.

        • You're completely out of touch.

          • Either that, or someone with a power complex. Interestingly enough, an employer monitoring you off-hours without your specific consent is probably illegal. Now that more people will know, there may be more push-back as they start asking "WTF is this?"
      • But how many non-technical people would know enough to assume that? It's for those people the prominent message can help them think twice before doing something with the company device they may regret later,

        Um, when you are at work, you can't do what you can at home . . . like nap in the middle of the day, wear pajamas, watch porn, whatever. This should be obvious to anyone much less those that are technical.

    • I use my own laptop at work fortunately
      • by Anonymous Coward
        If you are attached to the corporate network, your activities are monitored. When you are on the property you are subject to all terms of employment and appropriate behavior and subject to appropriate punishment if violated.
    • by Creepy ( 93888 )

      Mine does too, but they don't monitor everything. I know they don't listen in on calls, for instance. They do know everything you install on the device, though.

      • That's rather creepy. In most civilized countries employers can not spy on employees because privacy is both a basic and constitutional right, protected "even" at work. Listening, for example. calls in most situations would be outright criminal, let alone reading emails sent by the employee without explicit written consent.

    • Absolutely!!! This one is a 'Duh'!!!

      Bottom line is - Who bought that iPhone? If it's you, then yeah, your employer has no business touching your phone w/o your consent. But if it's THEM - like it was for Syed Farook, then not only do they have all rights, but YOU should NOT be using it for non-work purposes.

      Want a phone where you can plot Jihad and shooting up your entire workplace? Then get your OWN DAMN iPhone: don't use your employer's equipment to do it!

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Bottom line is - Who bought that iPhone? If it's you, then yeah, your employer has no business touching your phone w/o your consent. But if it's THEM - like it was for Syed Farook, then not only do they have all rights, but YOU should NOT be using it for non-work purposes.

        It's not so simple though.

        Yes, if it's the employer's phone, it'll be monitored.

        But remember, a lot of people are in the whole "BYOD" (bring your own device) thing where they may not even realize this is happening. So yes, the employees a

    • >> iOS 9.3 Will Tell You If Your Employer Is Monitoring Your IPhone

      How to know the US government is spying on you ?
      Get employed by the US government...

    • Yeah - I don't understand this feature. not a terrifically detailed article.

      Company provides cell phone. Company tracks device.

      For BYOD - it would be useful to know WHAT the company is tracking. My employer allows BYOD with the installation of an App - and other than "we reserve the right to wipe device to protect company IP" - not much more is said regarding what the app does.

      In the office they've installed a super SSL certificate that offers an "obsolete cipher suite" - so that they can view all conten

    • If you are required to have a work phone then you should never, never, ever use it for your personal business. I certainly hope I don't have to tell any of you that!
      • by smartr ( 1035324 )
        Because paranoia, paranoia, paranoia? I mean shit, we are all capable of carrying 10 different devices for 50 different purposes, or you know - a single general purpose computer that maybe shouldn't be monitoring people off active work duty. Is the phone supposed to be part of some sort of ultra secure secret network? Why did it leave the ultra secure secret building? Does it actually make sense from a non corporate brown nosing perspective to actually monitor your employees whilst they take a shit? Secure
        • ..I'm not at all sure if you're agreeing with what I'm saying or not.

          Do you mind if I ask you a question? Whether you think they do it or not: theoretically would it bother you if, assuming you used a company-owned device (smartphone, laptop, etc) at home, on your network and in your non-paid off-work time, for very, very personal things (watching porn, sexy chat with your girlfriend or wife, etc)? Or even for non-potentially-objectionable personal things (paying bills, making purchases, watching shows, et
          • by smartr ( 1035324 )
            Yes, it bothers me if a company tracks these things. I think there's a certain degree of, if you leave what you're doing out in the open, you should be putting some effort forth to do some things privately. But to the extent of what should matter to a company should be that they can secure their company information and their hardware. I have both a company laptop and phone. Once upon a time I was actively using an iPod touch, a work smart phone, a personal smart phone, a work Mac Pro, a home laptop, a work
          • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
            Most of those can be controlled a the device level.
            Logging of network traffic?
            keep it on your wifi or use a personal vpn.

            phone calls, texts, are so insecure it's laughable, who cares if their watching those. The data is out there, but rarely analyzed.
      • And since it's their phone, leave it at work when you leave. After all, it's their phone. Let them track it - all they'll find out is that you must have worked all weekend.
  • I mean, I like it when information is clearly communicated, but isn't it kind of a no-brainer that when your employer provides you with a phone that they are going to monitor its usage? Even if they don't, it should be the default assumption of the user that they do. Same thing with any desktop/laptop and internet connection they provide.

    All this does is point out the obvious.

    Now, if they had a message that told me my Service Provider was in some way monitoring my privately purchased/owned personal phone,

  • can they get in to your phone with out your pin?

    • by b0bby ( 201198 )

      No. This is for employer provided/managed phones.

      • so with an employer provided/managed phones you set you own pin switch to a new job and they are now SOL to get any info off of it.

        • by b0bby ( 201198 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @04:23PM (#51624181)

          They can get into *their* phone, which they are letting you use, without your pin if they are doing it right.
          They can't get into *your* phone, which you bought yourself and manage yourself, without your pin.

          IOW - If your employer provides you with a phone, it's not really yours.

          • by smartr ( 1035324 )
            They can get into *their* toilet, which they are letting you use, without your any bolt-locks if they are doing it right. IOW - If your employer provides you with a bathroom break, it's not really yours.
            FTFY
        • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

          Nope. Corp contracts have a backdoor PIN and the handset is usually SIM locked so you can't simply replace the SIM in a nine hundred Dollar company phone.

          (been there with Vodafone).

          Basically, if an employee leaves, you can brick the phone by calling the service centre with your company credentials and asking them to deactivate it. Then it's a simple case of calling the employee on an alternative line or even writing them and asking for the handset to be returned - then it's just a case of sending it back to

    • Yes, your employer can get into your issued phone if they set it up correctly.

      This is one reason why the current well publicized FBI/Apple court order debate is stupid- if the government hadn't screwed up, they wouldn't need Apple's help to get into the phone they had issued. Given that the government screws up something simple like this, why should we believe they won't screw up at safeguarding the special software they want.

      • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

        Geez, the phone was not issued or owned by the FBI, it was owned by a county. The FBI and a county are in no way related, except that they both are part of governments (though not the same government). Why do you try to equate them?

        • by creimer ( 824291 )

          Geez, the phone was not issued or owned by the FBI, it was owned by a county.

          The FBI ordered the county technician to change the iCloud account password, doing the exact opposite of what Apple told them to do. In short, FBI stands for Fumbling Bumbling Idiots.

      • This is one reason why the current well publicized FBI/Apple court order debate is stupid- if the government hadn't screwed up, they wouldn't need Apple's help to get into the phone they had issued. Given that the government screws up something simple like this, why should we believe they won't screw up at safeguarding the special software they want.

        If anyone had told them that the guy was going to kill 14 people, sure, they would have done that. But nobody told them. But if you think about it, IF they had the means of unlocking the phone at any time, then surely nobody would be stupid enough to leave incriminating information on their works phone.

        And remember, this is one of three phones that the killer had been using, and two phones he smashed up completely before he got killed. So you can guess which phone did _not_ contain anything juicy.

        The

  • There are employers who insist that they be allowed to install this evil crap on the devices owned by the users. Apple is making a huge mistake allowing this.

    This sort of crap is what helped bring down Blackberry. Pretty much anything that is good for a corporation is not good for the users.

    This is one of those insidious things where they give a little for a bunch of corporate sales, then they give some more and more and more until they are kowtowing to the enterprise market and they are making Microso
    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      An employer can't do a damn thing if you don't connect to their network and don't use the device on their property or their time.

    • by mccrew ( 62494 )

      This sort of crap is what helped bring down Blackberry.

      Bzzzt, wrong. So very, very wrong. The Blackberry 10 series were specifically designed to have 2 secure and independent partitions - a personal partition and a work partition. When you would associate your device with your work account, the corporate admin would only have control over the work partition and your personal partition would be out of reach. Blackberry got 99 problems, but offering a secure device that protects a user's personal information from corporate overreach is definitely NOT one!

    • Two easy answers that come to mind:

      1) "Oh, I don't have a smartphone. Can you issue one"?
      2) Go out and buy a cheap-assed-but-usable Huawei for $100, put it on Net10/MetroPCS/whatever, and use it only for corporate stuff. Write off the costs on your taxes.

    • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

      nope. What killed Blackberry was their proprietery messaging system (which nobody else could access) and the fact that Apple had released the iPhone right around the same time RIM bombed, because the iPhone was everything the Blackberry wasn't: useful.

      • by narcc ( 412956 )

        The iPhone was many things, but useful it was, most assuredly, not. The lack of basic features like task switching and copy/paste put it well behind the competition on that front. It's why BBs outsold iPhone and Android handsets for years after you inexplicably believe they "bombed".

        They're still leagues ahead of iOS and Android when it comes to management, privacy, security, and usability.

        • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

          BB didn't have copy/paste until the release of the 8000 series (2007/8) which had the requisite multitouch screens that the previous models lacked. Apple had it in the iPhone by March 2009 (announced for iOS 3). The iPhone 1 had a touchscreen in mid 2007. Six million units sold in thirteen months, which counted for nearly HALF the global smartphone market at the time, with Blackberry having taken SIX YEARS to sell the same number of units.

          Raw comparison: Blackberry's flagship phone for 2008, the Bold 9000 b

          • by narcc ( 412956 )

            BB didn't have copy/paste until the release of the 8000 series

            Nonsense. It worked fine on my 7290 (c. 2005), and the 6210 (c. 2003).

            which had the requisite multitouch screens that the previous models lacked.

            None of the 8000 series models had any sort of touch screen. The first would have been the 9500 series (c. 2008)

            The iPhone 1 had a touchscreen in mid 2007. Six million units sold in thirteen months, which counted for nearly HALF the global smartphone market at the time

            In 4Q 2007, Apple had captured a whopping 7% of the global smartphone market, and a healthy 25% of the U.S. market (well below RIM's 35%). Though by 1Q 2008, Apple had declined to 19%, while RIM had recaptured nearly 9%, holding 44% of the U.S. market. Analysts at the time attributed Apple's loss to RIM's gain. Looking at

            • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

              so you move the fucking goalposts. ::golf clap:: Well done.

              This thread is done.

              • by narcc ( 412956 )

                Did I? My only claims were that the iPhone was not as useful as its competitors, as evidenced by its lack of basic features, and that it did not outsell BB during the period you claimed. Both of these claims are true. You countered with obviously incorrect and irrelevant nonsense, which I corrected.

                Sorry to hurt your feelings, but reality is reality.

  • Even better (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @04:11PM (#51624071)

    Include an alert if your phone has negotiated an unencrypted connection with the nearest "cell tower" (aka Stingray). Like my Motorola Razr v3 does.

    • by ShaunC ( 203807 )

      Is that a feature of the phone, or are you using an app to detect that? I played with AIMSICD [github.io] for awhile, but I'm not sure it did anything other than drain the battery.

      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        It's a feature of the phone. There is an icon on the screen which displays the status of the link encryption. Since one mode of IMSI catcher operation is to negotiate an unsecured connection with a phone, it's an indication that you might not be talking to a legit cell phone tower.

  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @04:12PM (#51624075) Journal
    Instead of advising us our phones are monitored, which we already know, the device informs us when anyone actively uses these functions, especially remote access to the cam/mic. Locate notification should be an option but in practice many organizations would simply have automatic logging of this data and it would trigger every few minutes.
    • Instead of advising us our phones are monitored

      Small flaw in your argument. If "your" phone is being monitored, it's not really your phone. It belongs to someone else, they are lending it to you, and it's their right to know what you're doing with their stuff. If you ask for features which the phone owner objects to, Apple is going to listen to the guy paying them for the phone, not the guy using the phone for free.

      If you're that worried about other people monitoring your phone use, buy your own phon

      • "Small flaw in your argument. If "your" phone is being monitored, it's not really your phone. It belongs to someone else, they are lending it to you, and it's their right to know what you're doing with their stuff."

        First, no matter who owns the phone I have an expectation of privacy unless I'm at work. Second, you can bring your own device. Third, notifying me that they are monitoring does not prevent them from doing so, negating any relevance to whether or not they are entitled to do so.

        "If work requires y
  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @04:18PM (#51624135) Homepage
    I worked at a company where the management team got very insecure about their positions and thought that the regular employees were out to get them. So they got a program to remotely monitor desktops. One morning my manager came running over to my cubicle to inform me that I wasn't allowed to look at Amazon on company time. And then he discovered that I had a breakfast burrito from the roach coach in hand, which meant I was on my break and I'm allowed to look at the Internet on my break time. So I told him to bugger off. Since the company next door had an open wireless access point, many of my coworkers used their PDA's to browse the internet to avoid using their PCs.
  • How about a big message saying this device is being monitored by the NSA, CIA, and FBI thanks to the likes like Senator Feinstein.
  • Oh Stan you silly man.

    Read the screen grabs, http://imgur.com/a/Eb4yJ [imgur.com]

    [ This iPhone is managed by your organisation. ]

    What sort of idiot would not already know this about a work phone? It is same for a work PC, and work land line, or even a room at work. Oh yeah Apple users...
  • They should add it to the damn icloud activation lock status page.

    https://www.icloud.com/activat... [icloud.com]

    What good does that page do if it won't tell you it has a factory set MDM profile that can't be removed even if its not activation locked?

    Come on apple what the fuck were you thinking?

  • that I'm experiencing real cognitive dissonance right now. I've never liked their walled garden, and they were leaders in the 'you don't really own your hardware, we do' trend. But just recently they told the FBI to get stuffed, and now they're baking into their phones a warning when the user is being monitored. Apple as a 'good guy'? The sky is falling!

    Part of me wonders if they're simply ahead of the curve, seeing a business opportunity in a populace fast becoming sick of having their privacy butt-raped o

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