Apple asks feds to crack down on iPhone jailbreaking

InvisibleSHIELD.  Scratch Proof your iPhone 4!“Apple is asking the federal government to help crack down on hackers ‘jailbreaking’ the iPhone,” NBC reports. “Jailbreaking is the hacker term for cracking software restrictions so the iPhone will work on other wireless carriers and allow any apps to be installed, not just those approved by Apple.”

MacDailyNews Take: Technically, “jailbreaking” refers to the latter and “unlocking” refers to the former.

NCB continues, “‘Current jailbreak technologies now in widespread use utilize unauthorized modifications to the copyrighted bootloader and operating system, resulting in the infringement of the copyrights in those programs,’ Apple told the U.S. Copyright Office.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Not much meat in the NBC article, so it’s unclear what Apple’s asking for, if anything. Under the DMCA of 2010, both jailbreaking and unlocking are legal in the United States of America. More info: U.S. government makes iPhone jailbreaking, unlocking legal – July 26, 2010

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn W.” for the heads up.]


  1. @grh

    Remember a long, long, long time ago, before the iPhone, when carriers were the sole (meaning-ONLY) ones determining who, what, when, and where we were going to do with our cell phones. They put out crap software along with totally incompetent web browsers, and made any semblance of ease of use NOT a feature.

    Not until Apple, with its iPhone contract with ATT, did the carriers relinquish any control to anyone. I think they thought that the iPhone would be a marginal player (ie. see Balmer’s quotes, and “I can’t remember his name at Motorola”‘s quotes). Probably to do this, they had to compromise some with ATT on its length and terms of the initial contract.

    What Apple has done is turn the tables completely around in the phone industry (ie. the iPod story again).

    So, don’t so easily forget the past and what we had to deal with before the iPhone. Now, everybody just waits for Apple to come out with a product and then try to copy it (see iPod, iPhone, iPad, next groundbreaking idea, etc).

    (PS. Go get the last phone you had before the iPhone came out and compare the two.)

  2. In Australia, you can legally have your iPhone unlocked and use it with any carrier that supports the iPhone. All of the telcos here do not offer all of the features that the iPhone in the States offers. Such as: visual voicemail. That being said, I do like it that my iPhone is unlocked because when I travel to the US, I can buy a sim card that works with it in the States and I do not have to pay the exorbitant roaming charges. My first iPhone here was a black market jailbroken iPhone and it still is. None of my other iPhones are jailbroken. Don’t need it. Have all the apps I want or could ever need.

    I understand the kerfuffle about jailbreaking but I feel that I should be able to have my iPhone legally unlocked and then use a sim card with a carrier that supports the technology. Here in Oz, it is the law. The buyer of the iPhone is the owner, therefore can have their iPone unlocked by the original carrier.

    I think we may see unlocking happen in the US once more than 2 carrier (with two completely different “broadcast” systems) are allowed – er,cough – given the opportunity to carry the iPhone.


  3. This is another shyster planted story. Create a fib. Then create another fib saying government rejects apple request. None really happened but SHYSTERS pull down apple stock by 20 points using unfalsifiable story as basis.

  4. It is possible that either:

    1) There is a nuance in Apple’s request that does not fit the jailbreaking/unlocking court decision


    2) This is Apple’s first attempt to test the decision via another approach with the courts. This one sounds strange to me as I am not lawyer. Therefore, consider it an ignorant thought.

  5. “…it’s unclear what Apple’s asking for…”

    Wow, if you close your eyes real tight you can coat anything in denial! What Apple wants is complete control of their precious iOS media and devices, and nothing less. Their attempts at physical DRM have failed and now they want government to change the law in order to incarcerate folk for doing something they don’t like. Apple today is a partner with every media cartel. They intentionally designed iOS to limit your abilities to add or remove software and they don’t want you doing it. They want profit, and as much of it as they can get by any means, freedom be damned.

    Oh, I forgot! YAY! Go Apple! iOS Rules!

  6. The article MDN links to is an absolute joke. It’s so full of cluelessness that it’s hard to believe any part of it is true.

    Really, almost every paragraph in the original article has a significant error.

  7. I’m sure at least 99% of consumers that buy iPhones are not interested in jailbreaking them. The people that I’ve talked to with iPhones never even heard of the term. I’m sure it’s just a few tech-heads that want to tinker with their smartphones. The iPhone basically works well out of the box and there shouldn’t be much reason for most consumers to tinker with it. If consumers want to play around with their smartphones, they should probably be using Android which promotes tinkering.

  8. Sorry to correct you! But the number of jailbrokem unlocked iPhones hover around 10 % of all iOS users I think it is an exception to find an iPhone user who doesn’t know the term especially after they use the iPhone as I do everyday hour .. So check your facts do make your own !!!

  9. Very good!
    Time to put an end to this hacking shit! Apple should block all hacked devices from accessing the app store or getting iOS updates.

    Why you hack you are not happy with Apple and should not have bought an iOs device in the first place. Go and wank over Google Linux instead!

  10. @Powers johnson sez: “I will always jailbreak UNTIL I GET . . . better password protection…”

    Better password protection compared to what? If you are referring to the device passcode:

    It’s somewhat obscure, but no one using iOS 4 is stuck with merely the 4 character password. You can change the Settings to use as monstrous a password as you can handle. Look through your iDevice manual and find instruction regarding Passcodes. For my iPod Touch 4 Apple state:

    “A simple passcode is a four-digit number. To increase security, turn off Simple Passcode and use a longer passcode with a combination of numbers, letters, punctuation, and special characters.”

  11. I had always assumed that Apple officially made changes to prevent the previous form of jailbreaking while taking no measures to prevent future jailbreaking. This allows them to see what people can do, without having to support experimental code.

    So I was surprised to see this taken further, but mostly disappointed as it would mean that Apple is just incapable of securing its OS.

  12. @ Brau sez: “[Apple] want profit, and as much of it as they can get by any means, freedom be damned.”

    I’m not going to address the prospect of Apple being totalitarian. It certainly is in Apple’s financial interest to keep users ‘in the family’ of approved 3rd party software as well as the Apple App Stores and iTunes Store.

    However, there are other reasons for Apple to want to limit jailbreaking/unlocking:

    A) User Experience: Apple’s approach is a marriage of hardware with software. Everything “JUST WORKS”. Even to this day, Windows boxes are plagued with ye olde ‘Plug and PRAY’. Apple don’t want potentially screwed up iDevices out in the world for neophytes to see and believe to be Apple’s doing. They want happy, smiley, shiny customers and the company reputation that comes with it.

    B) Tech Support Costs and Frustration: What company wants to be saddled with supporting a hacked piece of hardware and/or software. You hack it, you void the warranty. It’s that simple. And yet I can verify that disappointed or screwed over hackers frequently call the source company and waste their time and money ranting over what is entirely the CUSTOMER’S fault. It is a tech support NIGHTMARE. I’ve often been on the receiving end! No way does Apple want to deal with that garbage. Minimizing hackability and hacking consequences is entirely in Apple’s interest, if only to prevent Tech Support HELL.

    If all humans took responsibility for their actions, what a better world this would be. But most humans do NOT! I can tell you that I LOVE having jailbroken my AppleTV v1, adding in a pile of lovely new software functionality. But no way would I go whining to Apple if my hack job fracked up! I also am smart enough to make sure I know how to UNDO my hack job should I wish to return my AppleTV v1 to pristine, Apple approved state.

    How many people jailbreaking/unlocking their iDevices take personal responsibility?

  13. No, making tools and/or provided the means to jailbreak the iPhone is patently illegal. The Librarian of Congress (LOC) in his recent opinion, which doesn’t carry the force of law, that it is Fair Use for individuals to jailbreak their personal iPhones, does not cover those who provides the tools or other means for individuals to jailbreak their iPhones. The LOC expressly stated in his opinion that nothing he did provided any protection to those who provided the means to jailbreak the iOS and expressly stated that those who provide tools for jailbreaking are still subject to the full rigor of the Copyright Act (Act), including its criminal provisions of the Act and the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). So those who provide the means for others to jailbreak their iPhones are breaking the law, and nothing that the LOC has done changes that.

    Moreover, the LOC’s recent decision that an individual jailbreaking his iPhone is legal is far from settled law. Only an Article III judge of a United States’ court of competent jurisdiction, which for instant purposes would be a U.S. district court judge, can make a legal determination as to whether an act of copyright infringement is excused as Fair Use. At present, I am not aware of any case where a U.S. district court has held that an individual jailbreaking his iPhone is excused from infringing Apple’s copyright in its iOS as an instance of Fair Use, and until such a judge so holds and his holding is sustained on appeal, the LOC’s opinion is at best advisory, for the LOC has no power to definitively determine what constitutes Fair Use on any legal dispute, except where a court has already held an act of infringement to be an instance of Fair Use or where Fair Use provision of the Act expressly states that an act is Fair Use. Since neither a federal court has held jailbreaking to be Fair Use and since the Act does not state that jailbreaking is Fair Use, whether an individual jailbreaking his iPhone is Fair Use, notwithstanding the LOC’s recent opinion, is still not decided.

  14. This will be the downfall of Apple. It appears Apple is becoming more and more like Microsoft. Hey I bought the iPhone with MY money so I should be able to use it any way I want to. Why restrict me to just one carrier? Looks like Martial Law with Apple.

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