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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RE: Is the iPhone really that dangerous?
By erikejw on 7/29/2009 5:47:58 PM , Rating: 5
If they are so afraid of terrorists an even safer action from the government would be to ban the iPhone altogether, guess Apple didn't think of that one ;)

RE: Is the iPhone really that dangerous?
By knutjb on 7/29/2009 10:36:23 PM , Rating: 5
Does Apple realize how stupid they look right now? Hey we created the best thing since slice bread, ooops, it has a major security flaw that's easily exploited so lets go public and write a law!

Apple needs to get real. Those blatantly breaking laws like terrorist and drug dealers won't stop just because the feds say do that and you might get fined, I'm shaking at the thought...

Hmmm... wonder if Palm has the same problem or did they maintain control of their ego?

I don't care, for me, that's too much money for a phone and service.

RE: Is the iPhone really that dangerous?
By Lifted on 7/30/2009 4:38:10 AM , Rating: 5
Jobs: People, get your thinking apples on! How can we distract people from this whole China "issue"?

Jobs Drone 1: Penalize Foxconn or even source the iPhone to another OEM?

Jobs: You're fired! Next!

Jobs Drone 2: Terrorism?

Jobs: Genius!

RE: Is the iPhone really that dangerous?
By erikejw on 7/30/09, Rating: 0
By paydirt on 8/3/2009 4:36:52 PM , Rating: 2
I'd like to thank Apple for giving ideas to terrorists. I'd also like to thank Apple for broken software.

By dark matter on 7/30/2009 11:16:18 AM , Rating: 5
Exactly. Apple have just scored an almighty own goal here.

I can just here the terrorists now.

Mohammed: Shit Ahmed
Ahmed: Whats that Mohammed.
Mohammed: We're screwed.
Ahmed: Why, have they found our stash of AK-47's?
Mohammed: No
Ahmed: Have they found our RPG's?
Mohammed: No
Ahmed: Have they discovered our plans for poisoning the water supplies off New York?
Mohammed: Thankfully, No
Ahmed: Nooo, they have discovered our nuclear bomb haven't they Mohammed, they have found it before we had time to kill millions
Mohammed: No Ahmed, they have not. But we had better stop what we are doing this instant.
Ahmed: Why?
Mohammed: They have just passed a law making it illegal to hack an iPhone!
Ahmed: Noooooooooooooooooooooo!

By themaster08 on 7/30/2009 12:06:01 PM , Rating: 3
I'm just miffed that Apple didn't catch on to the unusually large order of iPhones to Afghanistan.

By 41A on 8/17/2009 3:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
Ban the iPhone... ban pencils and paper and stamps... shutdown the Post Office... tv and radio... ban speech...

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