If Apple can disable third party apps remotely, who’s iPhone is it, anyway?

by James

From the company that brought you “bricking your phone for using it the way you want …,” The Giz is reporting a rumor that Apple has the ability to remotely disable applications that they don’t consider worthy or approved. The ability comes from the fact that Cupertino has written in the OS for the iPhone to “phone home” on occasion and get updated with a “blacklist” of applications that shouldn’t belong on the phone. It then proceeds to disable those applications. Swell. Who’s phone is it again?

The instruction was found by Jonathan Zdziarsi, the author of iPhone Forensics, and he states that it’s Hidden deep in the OS, under “CoreLocation” in a file called https://iphone-services.apple.com/clbl/unauthorizedApps. So far, according to Zdziarsi, the instruction only acts as a sort of anti virus or spyware instruction – disabling malicious applications that are either unauthorized by the phone’s owner (who is that again? Steve Jobs?) and that can do serious damage to the phone or even steal the users identity. That’s the party line anyway. But what would stop Apple from disabling say … MagicPad because it doesn’t like the cut and paste availability, or an app that uses the GPS to provide turn by turn directions in violation of Apple’s EULA (and wouldn’t it be swell if it did it right in the middle of a roadtrip).

And shouldn’t Cupertino have mentioned this in the product literature or even the phone’s manual instead of burying this command deep inside the code? And who pays for the cell phone call everytime iPhone calls home to talk to little Steve?

Hat Tip – The Giz

4 reviews or comments

JEmlay Says: August 7, 2008 at 9:43 am

The phone belongs to you, the apps belong to the devs.

Which would be better?

Remove a no longer working app?

Leave the app on the phone yet have it no longer work?

It makes sense to remove the garbage from your phone.

anthony Says: August 8, 2008 at 6:12 am

One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.

andy williams Says: August 10, 2008 at 1:02 am

If they can de activate and delete applications then the phone can report all information from the phone back to Apple including text messages and possibly voice conversations allowing apple to have the biggest Spyware Software of all and Spy on its Customers

They already have the technology to make a computer screen with a webcam hidden in the pixels of the display.

How far will they go and who will they give the info too.

Big Brother? Well it could be. Who knows.

S Says: August 15, 2008 at 10:21 am

I Love how you have a hacked iphone for the image!

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