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Apple Can Remotely Disable iPhone Apps

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the they're-making-a-list dept.

Portables (Apple) 550

mikesd81 writes "Engadget reports Apple has readied a blacklisting system which allows the company to remotely disable applications on your device. It seems the new 2.x firmware contains a URL which points to a page containing a list of 'unauthorized' apps — a move which suggests that the device makes occasional contact with Apple's servers to see if anything is amiss on your phone. Jonathan Zdziarski, the man who discovered this, explains, 'This suggests that the iPhone calls home once in a while to find out what applications it should turn off. At the moment, no apps have been blacklisted, but by all appearances, this has been added to disable applications that the user has already downloaded and paid for, if Apple so chooses to shut them down. I discovered this doing a forensic examination of an iPhone 3G. It appears to be tucked away in a configuration file deep inside CoreLocation.'" Update: 08/11 13:07 GMT by T : Reader gadgetopia writes with a small story at IT Wire, citing an interview in the Wall Street Journal, in which this remote kill-switch is "confirmed by Steve Jobs himself."

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550 comments

Refunds (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553123)

I Am Rich app, anyone?

Re:Refunds (1, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553237)

Just what I was thinking. It seems they could actually allow people to try applications and return them for a refund without Apple having major concerns about piracy.

Nonsense (2, Insightful)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553581)

Unless they're going to produce a "disabled apps" page for each individuals iPhone then of course this wouldn't allow them to do that.

Re:Refunds (0)

shmlco (594907) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553609)

Depends on how it works, now doesn't it? From what I'm given to understand, and also based on what Steve has said, this is a "global" kill-switch, to be used in case some malicious application gets by the hall monitors and is installed on a bunch of phones.

So yeah, I could put the copy of Cro-Mag Rally you just bought on the list...

And delete EVERYONE'S copy.

But yes, since all of the apps are encrypted with FairPlay, you should be able to put a time-limit in there somewhere, and use a similar mechanism to zap it.

Re:Refunds (4, Insightful)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553601)

I Am Rich app, anyone?

I always enjoy old adages being proved right. In this case "A fool and his money are soon parted."

I just wish I'd been the one to think of marketing an app to the terminally stupid.

Steve Jobs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553125)

Can suck my dick.

Fisht Posht! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553129)

Well, simply take the battery out, then it won't phone home.

Frosty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553135)

the snowman?

yeah hi, old news (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553139)

jesus slashdot is getting slow on the pickup.

First Piss (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553145)

Because the other two ACs didn't fail hard enough for my liking.

Re:First Piss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553383)

Hey, fuck you. You can suck my dick as well.

makes sense to me.. (4, Insightful)

Tarraq (183622) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553155)

It's better than having a lot of malicious programs out there, using data or sending personal information, with no way of recalling them.
Shouldn't be used unless it's deemed "dangerous".
"I am rich" for instance is a legitimate app, although without much purpose. But let's be honest, a lot of apps in the app store has little or no purpose. A 12$ flash light, anyone?

Re:makes sense to me.. (1, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553211)

And this certainly isn't there to make sure they can blacklist any iphone breakout software that gets into the wild.
God no!
Apple cares about their customers! *Cough Cough Cough*

Re:makes sense to me.. (4, Insightful)

duffel (779835) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553359)

And this certainly isn't there to make sure they can blacklist any iphone breakout software that gets into the wild. God no! Apple cares about their customers! *Cough Cough Cough*

Well, considering there already is breakout software in the wild and it has nothing to do with the apple store... No, this looks like another line of defence in case malware somehow makes it past their reviewing process.

And, you know what? I'm in favour of it. I don't want my phone making unsolicited phonecalls.

Re:makes sense to me.. (1)

someonetookmynicknam (1155489) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553515)

this is a good system to protect phones against any future spreading malware. Apple cant remotely disable any random app at their whims without thinking of a huge class action payment. makes sense to me too

Re:makes sense to me.. (4, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553213)

A 12$ flash light, anyone?

Don't you mean a 512 dollar flash light?

512$ ought to be enough for anyone (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553409)

512$ ought to be enough for anyone

Re:makes sense to me.. (2, Insightful)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553279)

Especially when you consider that it's possible to write a program that tells someone exactly where you are.

Re:makes sense to me.. (4, Insightful)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553555)

Not without it asking you first.

Although it probably wouldn't hard to write an app with a legitimate reason to use the GPS, and throw in a few lines that will also tell the author where you are as well.

Re:makes sense to me.. (5, Insightful)

muffen (321442) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553503)

Shouldn't be used unless it's deemed "dangerous".

Who decides what's dangerous? Are pirated apps going to be deemed dangerous? If you bypass certain security measures, is that dangerous? I don't like control being taken away from me (where "me" in this case is any end-user).

Even if the intent is to only blacklist malware, does apple have a research lab to determine whats malicious and what isnt? Will they tell us how they decide on malware? What if you release an app that is infected with malware, the app is still legit whereas the malware part of the code is not. What happen if that app gets blacklisted, can it be revoked? If the iPhone contacts a webpage every now and then, will apple pay the bill for the connection?

I don't like this, at the moment I don't like it because they did it without saying they are doing it. Going forward, they should say what they intend to block and give the enduser and option of either using the "service" or not... especially since the end-user is the one paying the bill for the datatransfer, the amount of money is imho completely irrelevant.

Security Risk? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553161)

Given the unpatched Kaminsky DNS stuff on desktop OS X, or even just spoofed ips, doesn't this mean that a malicious attacker might be able to spoof the apple "ban list" and disable core functionality? How long until this can be exploited with a list of the core os x daemons thus "bricking" the phone until ?

Re:Security Risk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553471)

Yes... unless the banned list is cryptographically signed via an asymmetric encryption scheme (which it should be). I don't know if it is either way.. just saying that that attack vector can be easily solved by the most basic precaution.

Re:Security Risk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553501)

Na, Apple isn't affected by Viruses ;-p

G.

Re:Security Risk? (-1, Flamebait)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553615)

No. And perhaps if you did some basic research instead of blindly regurgitating what someone clever said in the hopes of seeming clever yourself then you'd know why.

Re:Security Risk? (2, Insightful)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553623)

In theory? Sure, why not. In practice, it would be one of the greatest screwup in all history if this could be done. Presumably Apple is signing the list (via private/public keypairs) just like they do iPhone firmware updates; you sign this kind of stuff exactly so that hackers can't do stuff like this.

In other words no, I doubt this list can be exploited in that manner.

excuses, let it rain (3, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553173)

ok can we please just get all the apple fans make their excuses early on. the iphone is a fiasco but nothing will take their blinkers off, so lets just let them get it off their chest early.

Re:excuses, let it rain (-1, Redundant)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553281)

Apple really does have an incredible buisness model.
Lesser companies work out what people want then try to provide that to them at the lowest cost.
Apple tells it's fans what they should want and then sells it to them for a remarkably high price.
I never would have thought such a system would work.

Re:excuses, let it rain (2, Insightful)

symes (835608) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553315)

Lesser companies work out what people want then try to provide that to them at the lowest cost.

True for a lot of products... but put Apple in context here. The PC market isn't exactly flush with good natured business folk doing their upmost to protect consumers. And there's way too much choice in the phone market. The upshot being Apple has a reasonably well trusted, well known brand that looks good. To your average consumer this will be enough to warrant a little extra on a product.

Re:excuses, let it rain (5, Insightful)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553309)

How about we stop pretending that philosophical issues are the most important things when someone buys a product? Yeah, Apple products are more closed and restrictive, but they work for me. And until I get burnt by them bad enough to consider switching, I have no problem with them. I mean, they do behave pretty well for a Corporation. No need to spread FUD at the first sight of something that may not be ideal.

Re:excuses, let it rain (0, Flamebait)

DikSeaCup (767041) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553595)

Posting this undoes some moderation I've done to this discussion, but when I read this, I seriously needed a:

-1, Drank the Kool-Aid

moderation.

Re:excuses, let it rain (1)

k2r (255754) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553635)

> the iphone is a fiasco

I'd be a happy and rich man if only once in my life I'd achieve a fiasco like the iPhone...

It is a Core Location Blacklist (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553195)

http://daringfireball.net/2008/08/core_location_blacklist [daringfireball.net] : "An informed source at Apple confirmed to me that the âoeclblâ in the URL stands for âoeCore Location Blacklistâ, and that it does just that. It is not a blacklist for disabling apps completely, but rather specifically for preventing any listed apps from accessing Core Location â" an API which, for obvious privacy reasons, is covered by very strict rules in the iPhone SDK guidelines."

Re:It is a Core Location Blacklist (2, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553235)

...Ãoeclblà in the URL stands for ÃoeCore Location BlacklistÃ...

Say what?

Re:It is a Core Location Blacklist (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553287)

That'll be Slashdot's lack of unicode support -_-

"clbl" in the URL stands for "Core Location Blacklist"

Re:It is a Core Location Blacklist (5, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553345)

That'll be Slashdot's lack of unicode support -_-

Jeeze! If we can put a man on the moon, you'd think that... Oh, nevermind...we can't even do that anymore either.

Re:It is a Core Location Blacklist (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553393)

Here I was thinking it was some screwy setting in my browser.

Re:It is a Core Location Blacklist (1, Informative)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553425)

No, /. sucks. Try to point out the price of something in Euros. It won't work. Nor does the cents symbol.

Re:It is a Core Location Blacklist (5, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553491)

No, /. sucks. Try to point out the price of something in Euros. It won't work.

"10 Euro".
Hmm, seems to work here...

one solution (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553507)

It's open code, try and fix it and offer the slashdot overlords the patch.

Re:It is a Core Location Blacklist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553439)

Sounds like a stupid browser problem to me. Which one uses smartquotes?

How do you propose that slashdot support both iso-8859-1 AND unicode simultaneously according to the what stupid commenter wants? What if they want to use UTF-16 next?

Re:It is a Core Location Blacklist (0, Offtopic)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553513)

Sounds like a stupid browser problem to me. Which one uses smartquotes?

How do you propose that slashdot support both iso-8859-1 AND unicode simultaneously according to the what stupid commenter wants? What if they want to use UTF-16 next?

EBCDIC!

Re:It is a Core Location Blacklist (0, Offtopic)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553639)

Sounds like a stupid browser problem to me. Which one uses smartquotes?

How do you propose that slashdot support both iso-8859-1 AND unicode simultaneously according to the what stupid commenter wants? What if they want to use UTF-16 next?

EBCDIC!

DONT FORGET BAUDOT

Re:It is a Core Location Blacklist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553511)

Do macs support unicode? I thought they had their own character set just to put TMs and (R) in the wrong places in magazines compared to either unicode or windows code page 1252.

Re:It is a Core Location Blacklist (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553485)

http://daringfireball.net/2008/08/core_location_blacklist [daringfireball.net] :

"An informed source at Apple confirmed to me that the âoeclblâ in the URL stands for âoeCore Location Blacklistâ, and that it does just that. It is not a blacklist for disabling apps completely, but rather specifically for preventing any listed apps from accessing Core Location â" an API which, for obvious privacy reasons, is covered by very strict rules in the iPhone SDK guidelines."

ok so let me understand this. I buy a phone, I write software for my phone, apple can tell me to piss off and that my applications dont meet their guidelines? Ok so they dont know about my application until I share it with others, which btw appears to not be allowed since they want you to use the store that they get 30% off the sales of. Hmm.. something just does not seem that right here.

If I own the phone I should be able to run any app I choose to. If Apple wants to blacklist an app then really it should ask me for permission to do that on *my* phone, and so far no one has suggested that there is a confirmation (anyone with an iphone can test this, edit /etc/hosts, change the IP to your server, have it spit out valid formatted blacklists for an app and see if there is a confirmation).

As long as big brother is there telling me what I can and cannot run I somehow think I will choose something else.

BTW this exact feature was to be in vista, code was written, but eventually due to marketing concerns it was abandoned. It seemed that people did not like the fact that microsoft would have control over what apps could do what on their system. Funny how it seems much more acceptable when apple does the same thing.

Spin this! (2, Insightful)

consonant (896763) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553203)

..Apple fanbois!

*ABSOLUTELY NOTHING* justifies phoning home without having asked the user at some point.

Explicitly.
Up front.
In his/her face.

"But it was there in the EULA" is a stupid argument. The "ohhh shiny!!11" crowd wouldn't have read it, and most reasonable people cannot be expected to.

Disclosure: I have a 4gb iPod Nano which I got for free. I'd rather have something else which wasn't bound to the fancies of Lord Steve, but currently cannot afford it..

Re:Spin this! (-1, Flamebait)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553289)

>*ABSOLUTELY NOTHING* justifies phoning home without having asked the user at some point.

it's a phone. it's called the iphone.

>I'd rather have something else which wasn't bound to the fancies of Lord Steve, but currently cannot afford it..

cut back on the crack.

It's not called a 'phone home' (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553341)

It's a phone, it for YOU to make calls, not for APPLE to make calls. There is no reason for IT to call IT's HOME without YOUR (the owners) permission.

Your crack remark is typical of someone who can't make a coherent argument so fluffs it up with an insult.

Re:It's not called a 'phone home' (5, Insightful)

bestinshow (985111) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553529)

It's probably in the terms and conditions of ownership, and thus every owner has given permission already.

It's not like Apple is collecting user information here. It's a HTTP GET as far as I can tell, with no information being supplied to Apple, just a list of applications that are bad and that the user shouldn't run for their own protection.

Going beyond this into the realm of assuming that apple are collecting user data, disabling applications they just don't like, etc, is stupidity on the level of people who believe in conspiracy theories.

Re:Spin this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553295)

You can have my Creative Zen Photo, if you'd like.

Re:Spin this! (2, Insightful)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553325)

Not even a malicious app that is violating someone's privacy without them noticing? I'd rather have Apple disable it and risk the possibility of a false deactivation which I can sort out later than have my iPhone pwned because someone decided that iPhones phoning home was something to get paranoid about.

Re:Spin this! (5, Informative)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553331)

Except that it doesn't. The blacklist in question does not blacklist applications on the phone. It's a registry of applications which the user denies access to the "Core Location" service - i.e, when you don't want the phone to use GPS or triangulation data for privacy reasons. Seems perfectly reasonable to me. I don't want apps broadcasting my location without permission.

Re:Spin this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553401)

Well if that seems perfectly reasonable to you, iPhone isn't really for you since currently no applications are blocked from using your GPS...

Re:Spin this! (4, Informative)

lucas teh geek (714343) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553497)

Well if that seems perfectly reasonable to you, iPhone isn't really for you since currently no applications are blocked from using your GPS...

is that so mr anonymous coward? that's odd, since my iPhone pops up a message ""app_name" would like to use your current location" the first time each app tries to access the GPS since the last reboot. seems to me you're talking right out your ass

Re:Spin this! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553445)

Actually, 'ol Steve says it is:

http://www.engadget.com/2008/08/11/jobs-60-million-iphone-apps-downloaded-confirms-kill-switch/

Re:Spin this! (1)

Standard User 79 (1209050) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553443)

How about if an application on your phone wants to locate you? Perhaps the iphone should call home to say https://iphone-services.apple.com/clbl/unauthorizedApps [apple.com] before it allows applications know exactly where you are...

Re:Spin this! (1)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553641)

Or perhaps they should have the iPhone pop-up a message asking you if it's ok for the application to use your location...

For the benefit of the purchasers of I Am Rich & StandardUser79: the iPhone does that.

Re:Spin this! (1)

consonant (896763) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553451)

Update [daringfireball.net] :

It is not a blacklist for disabling apps completely, but rather specifically for preventing any listed apps from accessing Core Location -- an API which, for obvious privacy reasons, is covered by very strict rules in the iPhone SDK guidelines.

These privacy concerns are somewhat GPS-related. Could anyone explain further? Too early right now for any place to have significant info on this..

p.s: While I'm backing down a little (since it's not a "zOMG teh remote bricking!!11"), I stand by the uncalled-for phone-home though - it still stinks.

Re:Spin this! (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553607)

It's a blacklist that allows Apple to prevent applications from using the GPS built into the new iPhones.

Usually the OS will pop up a dialog saying something along the lines of "Do you want to let [app name] use your current location?". Presumably if Apple blacklist it, it's not allowed to even pop up the dialog, and just fails in some way.

It makes a lot of sense to me, since most users aren't going to know that "Malicious App 7" is not only using your location to find the nearest sweet shop, but is also sending it to your local assassin so they can track you down.

re: CoreLocation (5, Informative)

akarnid (591191) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553229)

Sorry guys. This is brouhaha over nothing. The blaclist in question does NOT disable apps remotely but instead disallows listed apps form accessing the CoreLocation framework. See http://daringfireball.net/2008/08/core_location_blacklist [daringfireball.net]

Re: CoreLocation (5, Funny)

bursch-X (458146) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553275)

Oh, come on don't you spoil our neat little flamefest based on mere guesswork and Anti-Apple bias with your boring and irrelevant facts, please.

I mean this if Slashdot, if you want news, please go to CNN.com. Ah, damned, they don't want their stories being diluted by facts either...

Re: CoreLocation (1)

xkillkillx (987532) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553299)

No, there is indeed something rotten in all this. It's not the destination of the call home thing, it's the call itself. As stated before, there is no reason whatsoever it should call home without asking permission before.

Re: CoreLocation (1)

bestinshow (985111) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553473)

What? A simple HTTP GET to get a list of applications which can't have access to Core Location services? The simplest explanation is that it will protect user's privacy if an application includes something that gives away this information, and Apple included this as a means to stop rogue apps.

It's not as if it is sending a list of applications back, or other private information. Of course the articles and a lot of people are assuming that it does this and then getting all frothy and righteous about it.

Re: CoreLocation (1)

sd.fhasldff (833645) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553363)

Assuming that is indeed correct, and I have no reason to believe one way or the other, why is Apple using a BLACKLIST for restricting applications' access to CoreLocation? Wouldn't a WHITELIST be much more appropriate?

Default Deny is a good security maxim and would seem to be very appropriate in this case.

(Not that it would prevent someone from spoofing the site in question)

Re: CoreLocation (-1, Troll)

Pink Fandango (1336947) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553389)

Default deny means you've actually thought about security... My guess, i think they threw the blacklist in afterwards

Re: CoreLocation (2, Insightful)

Standard User 79 (1209050) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553475)

There are currently 2000+ iphone applications. When polling a server should you a) return a list of 1999 good applications, or b) return a list of the 1 bad application...

It *Might* be a Core Location Black List (2, Interesting)

segedunum (883035) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553375)

The whole speculation on Core Location comes simply from the URL having clbl in it, which supposedly stands for Core Location Black List. There is no other evidence provided that this is only what it does, nor does it mean that Apple can't use it in some other form or that they're not working on a set of black listed applications they can retrospectively turn off. Apple have already shown how developer friendly they are by pulling applications from their store without warning.

Personally, I find a black list like this an exceptionally stupid and blunt way to deal with access to Core Location.

Net Share (3, Interesting)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553265)

So how long before Net Share gets disabled?

Unfortunately I missed this app when it was on the App Store and I've been looking for a way to install it, but I suspect now that even if I succeed, that it will get disabled by Apple in the coming weeks/months.

iPhone newbie question:
Is there a way to install apps which have been removed from the App Store by somehow getting the binary?

Not an Apple-specific problem (4, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553319)

This sort of problem is now years past the place where it can be solved by "voting with your dollars," or hoping that exposing the problem will create bad PR and shame the company into correcting it.

I don't know what parts of our constitution are still operative today, but if we can't get the public interested in privacy rights, get Congress interested in passing appropriate legislation, making "phoning home" against the law--and getting those laws enforced--then Apple and Microsoft and Sony and everyone else will continue to do whatever is technologically feasible, convenient, and supportive of their corporate goals.

It's naive to think that there are Good Companies and Evil Companies and that the answer is to put your faith in the Good Companies.

Of course, I do hope that exposing the problem creates bad PR and shames Apple into fixing it.

Not true, the iphone doesn't phone back home. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553351)

Search the internet and you'll find that the aforementioned blacklist is actually included in the Core Location service and it serves the only purpose to block certain applications to use it in order to protect the privacy of the user. So no iphone getting back to block your pirated applications. Let's move on boys.

Story is untrue (2, Interesting)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553365)

The blacklist in question does not blacklist applications from running on the phone. It's a registry of applications which are denied access to the "Core Location" service - i.e, when you don't want the phone to use GPS or triangulation data for privacy reasons. Seems perfectly reasonable to me. I don't want apps broadcasting my location without permission.

Re:Story is untrue (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553563)

Will you kindly shut the fuck up already? We've had about 5 posts like this so far, all of which contradict the following respective pieces of obvious logic and in-your-face authoritative evidence:

1. Just because someone uncovered one URL which is likely to be a Core Location services blacklist, it doesn't automatically disqualify that there are [i]other[/i] blacklists which disable an app entirely.

2. Steve Jobs announced (see recent WSJ article summarized e.g. on macrumors.com) that iPhone has remote app disabling. To announce this if it's not true would be monumentally stupid for two reasons:

(a) He knows he'll piss off a minority contingent of privacy advocates. (shame that it's only a minority, but if there's one thing we learn from our dear country, it's that its citizens generally get exactly what they deserve)

(b) At some point, a malicious app [i]will[/i] appear. Imagine the reaction if, everyone with eyes looking to Apple to disable it, SJ responds with "oh, my bad, actually we can't disable stuff".

In conclusion, the iPhone has remote app disabling. Apple can remotely disable any of your apps. Your apps are remotely disable-able.

In other news, the iPhone developer agreement apparently must include the "we can pull any of your apps from the store for an arbitrary reason aside from the ones mentioned explicitly in the agreement" clause, since removal of _I Am Rich_ was, Apple claims, a "judgment call". Meanwhile, removal of _NetShare_ was due to the ability - the developer seems to have concluded, after a period of silence - to use it to break your service agreement on some of the many global networks iPhone is available for. This is all made harder by an NDA which specifically prohibits an iPhone developer community, let alone any open source + Free software, since you're [i]not allowed to talk about your code[/i].

At the risk of confronting the No True Scotsman fallacy, no true developer codes for the iPhone. It's a get-rich-quick gamble, where Apple may pull your foundations from under you at a whim (as they've already three times to developers) and where you must code alone and in secret.

This has already been addressed by Steve Jobs! (5, Interesting)

djkitsch (576853) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553395)

Couple of hours before this story got onto the /. front page, Engadget had this scoop:

http://www.engadget.com/2008/08/11/jobs-60-million-iphone-apps-downloaded-confirms-kill-switch/ [engadget.com]

Steve Jobs has confirmed the kill-switch, and defends it as a "responsible" way to make sure they can deal with it if a malicious app finds its way into the App Store.

Get with the times, editors!

Re:This has already been addressed by Steve Jobs! (1)

consonant (896763) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553537)

Jobs said, "hopefully we never have to pull that lever, but we would be irresponsible not to have a lever like that to pull."

Slippery slope, much..?

Re:This has already been addressed by Steve Jobs! (2, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553553)

But the URL being talked about in this /. post is not a kill switch as reported in earlier replies.

So, this means that there is still a hidden kill switch in the iPhone.

Slashdot VS Logic (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553405)

Apple: Hmm, how about we make our iPhones phone home to see if they have any blacklisted apps on them, and then we can remotely disable them!

Slashdot: Well, yeah, I mean it would stop bad apps from being runaway in the wild, right?!

Microsoft: Hey guys, lets make a cellphone, and have it phone home to see if there are any bad apps running on it!

Slashdot: WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING, OH MY STALLMAN, THE HUMANITY!!!!

Slashdot ... Last Week's News, Today! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553433)

This story came out a lifetime ago, why is it appearing here now?

The list only disables Location API usage for specified applications, it doesn't actually disable the application entirely. I'm certain that there is also a capability to disable apps completely built-in however.

Any anyway, if a malicious application does get into the app store, surely you need a means to disable it quickly and effectively. You can't find malicious apps in a few hours of testing if they bury the malicious payload deep (or to activate on a certain date, etc), so undoubtedly someone will write a game or tool with a malicious payload. Personally I'd expect someone to write an app that scrapes contact details and sends them somewhere to get spammable email addresses, etc.

If this wasn't Apple.. (1)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553453)

I never post in these threads, but I thought this one was worthy.. I'm a fan of neither company, but if this was MS instead of Apple - zomg.

Apple can kiss my shiny metal ass (5, Insightful)

Nycran (1282174) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553455)

More and more it feels like every iPhone belongs to Steve - people are just leasing it from him. There's just *no way* a phone should contact another server without the user knowing it or expressly permitting it, and there's absolutely no way in hell it should disable an application which the user deliberately installed, period. The end.

wow, expensive *and* restrictive? (4, Funny)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553461)

Where can I sign up for the really expensive phone with no buttons, locked into a single provider, that I can't modify or enjoy in any way (except the approved ways I suppose).

I'd really like one of those.

Once Again (0, Troll)

sogoodsofarsowhat (662830) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553479)

Slashdot with the total Flame bait article that is not based in fact but FUD. Come on /. dont be a tool... your supposed to be more technical than this but instead you post up a bad/already debunked article...but instead of tagging this properly you give it more legs. Nice. Even though nothing from the article is factual you still post it up. Get over it. Apple isnt screwing over the phone users...as much as you want to think they are. Watch as Apple becomes the powerhouse of phone makers. /. is such a fucking tool

Yoda sodomy golden showers and GNAA muffins (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24553517)

That's nothing, I fuck plastic yoda dolls, shove them WAY up my hiney!

Can you trust? (1)

silverdr (779097) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553523)

One more thing to tell and remind us whom we can trust... [gnu.org] Isn't it just another "didn't I tell you?", which RMS is classy enough not to spell out?

Not true (1)

brainnolo (688900) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553533)

That blacklist is about using CoreLocation API, not about disabling the applications completely. Application needs to ask the user if they want to use CoreLocation for obvious reasons, and apparently there it also keep a blacklist for security purposes.

Is /. falling behind? (-1, Troll)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 5 years ago | (#24553545)

This is old news. This "remote shutdown" story is days old. The real reason for this setting was known last week.
.

What is becoming of /. lately? Instead of discussions of breaking news, all I am seeing is retreads of old stories.

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