Print 108 comment(s) - last by 41A.. on Aug 17 at 3:17 PM

IPhone unlocker... or terrorist and drug dealer?? Apple claims that iPhone unlocking aids drug dealers and terrorist and could threaten America's cell phone users. It is urging the U.S. government to make it illegal and punishable. The EFF calls these claims FUD.  (Source:
Apple says terrorists could use iPhones to attack cell phone towers

Apple has tried everything to stop iPhone unlockers.  Bricking iPhones didn't work -- it just generated more headaches and bad PR.  Apple's internal protection technology turned out to be just as weak and poorly implemented as its consumer security on the iPhone -- the hackers quickly overcame the latest protections Apple threw at them.  Now with its shiny new iPhone 3G S becoming yet the latest handset to be freed, Apple has turned to none other than the U.S. government for help.

The company has submit a report to the U.S. Copyright Office suggesting that iPhone unlocking be outlawed (and jailbreaking from the AT&T network, essentially as well as it would be impossible without unlocking) as Apple claims it threatens cell phone towers across America.  Apple claims that unlocking the iPhone provides easy access to the iPhone’s BBP — the “baseband processor” software, which enables a connection to cell phone towers.

According to Apple, the BBP could then be exploited by "a local or international hacker could potentially initiate commands (such as a denial of service attack) that could crash the tower software, rendering the tower entirely inoperable to process calls or transmit data."

States Apple, "Taking control of the BBP software would be much the equivalent of getting inside the firewall of a corporate computer — to potentially catastrophic result.  The technological protection measures were designed into the iPhone precisely to prevent these kinds of pernicious activities, and if granted, the jailbreaking exemption would open the door to them."

Currently, iPhone unlocking falls under a legal gray zone.  The comments by Apple come in response to an ongoing request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to legalize the widespread practice of unlocking.  Apple wants to push it in the other direction make unlocking and jailbreaking the phone illegal.

Fred von Lohmann, the EFF attorney in charge of the EFF request mocked Apple's filing openly, calling its claims "preposterous".  He says that there's an estimated 1 million unlocked iPhones operating in the U.S. and that they have posed no threat thus far.  He states, "As far as I know, nothing like that has ever happened.  This kind of theoretical threat is more FUD than truth."

Apple also claims that unlocking and jailbreaking also could be used to enable the alteration of the Exclusive Chip Identification number, allowing for anonymous phone calls.  States Apple, "This would be desirable to drug dealers."

Unlocking the iPhone may currently be banned under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which states that "no person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title."

However, citizen requests, such as the EFF filing, must be considered for exemption every three years.  The Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office is tasked with that responsibility.

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By Cerin218 on 7/29/2009 4:16:08 PM , Rating: 4
So what you are saying is that you made a product that can be circumvented in the manner you have described, and rather then make a secure device or allowing people the freedom to do what they want with a product they purchased you need to government to declare the action "illegal"? Last time I checked, if you are a terrorist or drug dealer, you already aren't following a massive number of "laws". So how exactly is a law going to physically stop you from doing this? There are gun laws, but it doesn't stop the criminals from using them to um, break the law. At sentencing is the judge going to say that you were caught with x amount of drugs so we sentence you to 15 years in prison, and three years tacked on because you unlocked a cell phone to do it with?

If I were the government, I would tell Apple it is illegal for them to produce a product that can very simply put national security in jeopardy, or that will facilitate criminal activity.

Keep buying Apple people, you are the ones that allow them to continue their own stupidity.

By ElFenix on 7/29/2009 4:19:58 PM , Rating: 5
drug dealers have throwaways already.

taking down a couple of towers doesn't seem like something impressive enough for 'terrahists.' oh noes i can't makez muh cawlz! they probably want the tower up to set off phone bombs anyway.

By Chocobollz on 7/29/2009 5:31:30 PM , Rating: 2
Well, next time, Apple will say that terrorists could use the iPhone to blew up satellites... Maybe it really could if their crappy components inside were jamming the sats LOL

By g35fan on 7/29/2009 6:37:06 PM , Rating: 5
if that doesn't work they'll say everyone who unlocks an iphone is a racist. That don't work they'll say anyone who unlocks an iphone is contributing to child pornography.

By ipay on 7/30/2009 5:37:33 PM , Rating: 3
I'm sure they'll also throw global warming in the mix!

Oh wait, the iPhone contributes to that regardless...

By themaster08 on 7/30/2009 5:39:10 AM , Rating: 4
The iPhone is a terrorists dream.

They get to hack into national security using it, and then strap a few onto themselves whilst standing in the sunlight then BOOM!

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs

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