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Apple Patents Remotely Disabling Jailbroken Phones

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the trying-to-put-the-break-in-jailbreak dept.

Cellphones 381

An anonymous reader writes "Apple yesterday applied for a patent to allow remotely disabling electronic devices when 'unauthorized usage' is detected. The patent application covers using the camera to take pictures of the unauthorized user and using GPS to determine location, and it involves ascertaining whether the phone has been hacked or jailbroken, using those as criteria for detecting 'suspicious behavior.' The patent would allow the carrier or any other 'authorized' party to disable or restrict the functionality of the device. Is this Apple's latest tool to thwart jailbreaking?"

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Just because it's patented... (4, Insightful)

jornak (1377831) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313448)

...doesn't mean it's legal, right?

Re:Just because it's patented... (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313524)

They applied for a patent, they weren't granted one. I'm sure there is plenty of prior art on this type of thing (the cable monopolies come to mind with disabling set-top boxes or the like).

Re:Just because it's patented... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313578)

Yeah - thats what I was thinking.

They're trying to patent the idea of disabling something remotely? Who here has ever used Blackberry Enterprise Server?

Re:Just because it's patented... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313630)

If Google has to remotely brick the Andoid phones because of the unauthorized usage of Oracle's patents, will they have to licence this technology to be able to do it legally?

Re:Just because it's patented... (4, Interesting)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313786)

There is indeed a ton of prior art. There are quite a few Symbian applications that enable the 'owner' to do pretty much what the apple patent describes. Also my N900 has a fairly sophisticated script that sets up a reverse tunnel over 3G automatically if the SIM card is changed - once logged in I can do sudo rm -rf /* if I feel destructive - though in reality I'd grab a few good GPS fixes and then retrieve my property.

Re:Just because it's patented... (4, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313544)

...doesn't mean it's legal, right?

On the contrary, because it's patented, it is now illegal for anybody else to do this, which is a good thing :-)

So, from now on, as long as you avoid the iPhone like the plague it is, you should be safe against the threat of your phone manufacturer spying on you...

Re:Just because it's patented... (2, Insightful)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313674)

No, it means that it's illegal for anybody else to do it without paying apple royalties. Since this isn't a feature that sane or rational consumers would actually want on their phones, I don't see why apple wouldn't license this patent to all the other authoritarian moneygrubbers out there, especially since being the only ones remotely breaking their customers phones would probably be viewed as a bad thing. The more companies they license this patent to (if they are awarded it) the better apple looks in comparison, and the more money they make in the process.

Re:Just because it's patented... (2, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313742)

So, from now on, as long as you avoid the iPhone like the plague it is, you should be safe against the threat of your phone manufacturer spying on you...

Hahahaha! [wipes tear] Oh, man. I needed that.

Re:Just because it's patented... (2, Insightful)

click2005 (921437) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313558)

Thats for lawyers to spend 4 or 5 years deciding. By then it wont matter because even
if Apple loses they'll get fined a few thousand in money off vouchers. Easily worth it
to stop jailbreaking for a few years.

Re:Just because it's patented... (5, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313684)

The headline is massively misleading, they've patented remotely disabling devices that the device has detected has been stolen, not jailbroken phones.

Stupid slashdot is stupid^H^H^H^H^H filled with anti-apple trolls.

Re:Just because it's patented... (0, Redundant)

Straterra (1045994) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313806)

Slashdot has about as many anti-Apple trolls as it has pro-Linux and anti-Microsoft trolls.

In short, you must be new here.

Re:Just because it's patented... (1)

sprale (1759936) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313794)

So, what if Dell prosecuted you for installing Linux on their computers instead of the pre-installed Windows they sell it with? (I know, Apple does both the hardware and software, but you get the idea)

Re:Just because it's patented... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313816)

The Ars article says, "unauthorized user" not "usage." These security features would be implemented if it's stolen, not if it's jailbroken.

i thinks i has prior art (1)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313842)

hacker says BOO

Unauthorised by whom? (1, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313454)

1) Unauthorised by whom?
2) Didn't a school district try this recently and get some bad press for it?

Re:Unauthorised by whom? (0)

domulys (1431537) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313548)

Yes, and they were cleared of all charges.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/08/19/school_webcam_spying_no_crime/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Unauthorised by whom? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313756)

no, the feds decided not to prosecute, which is not the same thing.

The civil lawsuits for invasion of privacy, taking picutures of semi-clothed teenagers in their bedrooms is proceeding.

Re:Unauthorised by whom? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313594)

Library of Congress just ruled on the DMCA that there is no "unauthorized" use of a damn smart phone...

Dont you love it when companies try to re-write laws and claim they are in the green?

Re:Unauthorised by whom? (1)

Rijnzael (1294596) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313598)

I'm sincerely hoping "unauthorized person" means "the guy who stole it from the owner". If that were all this functionality were to be used for, and it were solely at the control of the device's owner, then I would be very interested. I mean, we already have remote wipe, but this other functionality would actually be useful in catching anyone who steals the phone and could potentially have received sensitive or personal data on it.

Re:Unauthorised by whom? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313802)

Read the patent, this section in particular:

In some embodiments, an unauthorized user can be detected by noting particular activities that can indicate suspicious behavior. For example, activities such as entering an incorrect password a predetermined number of times in a row, hacking of the electronic device, jailbreaking of the electronic device, unlocking of the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, or moving a predetermined distance away from a synced device can be used to detect an unauthorized user.

Emphasis mine.

Re:Unauthorised by whom? (2, Funny)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313640)

A school district tried this and barely avoided having officials brought before a grand jury and indicted.

Perhaps we will get to see Mr. Jobs wearing iStripes in the iPrison? Or iPrisonUniform in the iAlcatrez.

Holy shit. (1, Flamebait)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313462)

Can you scream "privacy issue" so hard that blood is expelled from every single one of your orifices? DRM is pretty bad, but this is just sickfuckery.

Re:Holy shit. (1)

B33RM17 (1243330) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313546)

Sickfuckery, hah! Excellent word. I'm going to borrow that if you don't mind.

Re:Holy shit. (1, Troll)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313550)

But it's "Steve", man! Don't you trust Steve to look after our best interests?? With Steve all things are possible.

Re:Holy shit. (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313694)

Apple fanboy: What is so bad about this? Of course Apple should be able to prevent hackers from using hacked iPhones and iPads.

Pretty much describes Apple to a tee. (0, Flamebait)

Chas (5144) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313826)

Who knows. Maybe if Darth Jobs' empire pushes too hard, some of his lobotomy cult will eventually get the idea.

You know what's worse? (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313848)

Someone steals your phone, and you discover that it can't be remote wiped to protect your private data, because some idiot screamed "privacy issue" so hard that blood was expelled from every single one of his orifices, thus preventing (via nimby type suits) the manufacturer from implementing it?

Re:Holy shit. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313860)

Can you scream "privacy issue" so hard that blood is expelled from every single one of your orifices?

Uh...wow, you unintentionally put that in perspective. I don't even care about the privacy issue anymore. Apple can break my jailbroken iphone as long as they don't also send men with blue gloves after me to make me bleed out my orifices.

It's probably (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313470)

a security measure for stolen iPhones.

Re:It's probably (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313608)

Yeah, I know it's a little crazy to suggest looking at what it being patented instead of reading the article summary, but the focus of this application are the techniques they might use to determine whether the person using the phone is the owner (or someone else on the owner's "approved user" list), or someone else. The technology to just brick a jailbroken phone is pretty trivial... and not the subject of this patent application.

Re:It's probably (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313844)

Yeah, I know it's a little crazy to suggest looking at what it being patented instead of reading the article summary...

Nah, this /.; where reality need not intrude on forming an opinion without RTFA.

Re:It's probably (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313650)

Here's the important text of the patent:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001]This relates to systems and methods for identifying unauthorized users of an electronic device. In particular, this relates to systems and methods for detecting an unauthorized user, gathering information related to the electronic device, the unauthorized user, or both, and transmitting an alert notification to a responsible party for the electronic device.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002]People often possess and carry around a variety of electronic devices, such as, for example, cellular phones, PDA's, personal e-mail or messaging devices (e.g., a Blackberry.TM.), and handheld media players (e.g., an iPod.TM.). Many of these electronic devices are used frequently by their owners, and the electronic devices may contain personal or sensitive information stored within them. For example, the electronic devices may contain information such as credit card numbers, passwords, social security numbers, bank information, contact lists, or calendar information. Accordingly, if the electronic device is lost or stolen, the loss of the electronic device can be exceedingly disruptive to the owner's peace of mind and security. Thus, the owner may desire to find out where the lost electronic device is located or who may have gained possession of or stolen the electronic device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0003]Systems and methods for identifying unauthorized users of an electronic device are provided. In particular, systems and methods for detecting an unauthorized user, gathering information related to the electronic device, the unauthorized user, or both, and transmitting an alert notification to a responsible party for the electronic device are provided.

[0004]In some embodiments, an unauthorized user can be detected by comparing the identity of the current user to the identities of authorized users of the electronic device. For example, a photograph of the current user can be taken, a recording of the current user's voice can be recorded, the heartbeat of the current user can be recorded, or any combination of the above. The photograph, recording, or heartbeat can be compared, respectively, to a photograph, recording, or heartbeat of authorized users of the electronic device to determine whether they match. If they do not match, the current user can be detected as an unauthorized user.

[0005]In some embodiments, an unauthorized user can be detected by noting particular activities that can indicate suspicious behavior. For example, activities such as entering an incorrect password a predetermined number of times in a row, hacking of the electronic device, jailbreaking of the electronic device, unlocking of the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, or moving a predetermined distance away from a synced device can be used to detect an unauthorized user.

[0006]In some embodiments, when an unauthorized user is detected, information related to the current user of the electronic device (e.g., the unauthorized user), the current user's operation of the electronic device, the electronic device's location, or any combination of the above can be gathered. For example, information such as the current's user's photograph, a voice recording of the current user, screenshots of the electronic device, keylogs of electronic device, communication packets (e.g., Internet packets) served to the electronic device, location coordinates of the electronic device, or geotagged photos of the surrounding area can be gathered.

[0007]Instead or in addition, when an unauthorized user is detected, various functions of the electronic device can be restricted. For example, access to particular applications can be restricted, access to sensitive information can be restricted, sensitive information can be erased from the electronic device, or any combination of the above.

[0008]In some embodiments, an alert notification can be sent to a responsible party when an unauthorized user is detected. The "responsible party" can be any persons suitable to receive the alert notification, such as, for example, the owner of the electronic device, proper authorities or police, persons listed in a contact book in the electronic device, or any combination of the above. In some embodiments, the alert notification can be a general warning that an unauthorized user has been detected (e.g., "Warning, your electronic device may have been stolen"). In some embodiments, the alert notification can contain any of the information gathered in response to an unauthorized user being detected (e.g., photographs, voice recordings, screenshots, geotagged photographs, or any other gathered information).

[0009]The alert notification can be transmitted to the responsible party through any suitable medium. For example, the alert notification can be sent as a voicemail, phone call, text message, e-mail, or facsimile. As another example, the alert notification can be sent through any suitable VoIP application (e.g., Skype.TM. or Windows.TM. Live Messenger), instant messaging application (e.g., AOL Instant Messenger.TM. or MSN Messenger.TM.), on-line profile application (e.g., Facebook.TM. or Friendster.TM.), blog application (e.g., Twitter or Xanga.TM.), or "cloud" server (e.g., sent to a Mobile Me account associated with the owner of the electronic device).

Since you did not point it out... (-1, Troll)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313758)

[0005]In some embodiments, an unauthorized user can be detected by noting particular activities that can indicate suspicious behavior. For example, activities such as entering an incorrect password a predetermined number of times in a row, hacking of the electronic device, jailbreaking of the electronic device, unlocking of the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, or moving a predetermined distance away from a synced device can be used to detect an unauthorized user.

Perhaps when they say, "anti-theft," they are using a definition of "theft" that includes "using it in a way that is not prescribed by Apple."

Re:It's probably (1)

do0b (1617057) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313774)

That's the killer (pun intended) feature a mobileme enabled iPhone needs to have! If done properly, it would be an impressive theft deterent. I dream of the day I can just log in and click on "Remotely disable iPhone". *Disclosure: I have been mugged because of said apple device. It's not a fun experience.

Just don't buy Apple products anymore (2, Insightful)

Sir Isaac1 (797524) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313472)

Just don't buy Apple products anymore. End of story.

Re:Just don't buy Apple products anymore (4, Funny)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313734)

I tried that, but due to this new technology I can't successfully steal them anymore.

Re:Just don't buy Apple products anymore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313744)

Is that because you don't support allowing the legitimate owner to disable a stolen device? Or is it because you didn't bother reading the article, because you're going to hate Apple no matter what the facts are anyway?

Geek hit squads? (1, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313474)

You'll never hear their electric cars pull up to you while you're busy playing that homebrew game and four muscular guys with horn-rimmed glasses step out to beat you up with their Einstein-tatooed gigantic arms...

Re:Geek hit squads? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313552)

four muscular guys with horn-rimmed glasses ...

Don't forget the black turtlenecks and jeans ...

Just another reason... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313478)

... to hate on Apple and never purchase any of their products on principle.

Bad Summary? (3, Insightful)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313488)

It doesn't say the countermeasures would be used BECAUSE the phone is jailbroken, just that this is one of the data it could ascertain. Right?

Re:Bad Summary? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313624)

Absolutely correct.

Bend over, chumps (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313494)

This soooooo makes me not want to be an Apple customer...

Legal implications.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313500)

Wouldn't that kind of action be in violation of the recent ruling that made such actions as jailbreaking legal on personally owned devices? I understand its a warranty violation, but that shouldn't mean that it should allow apple to restrict usage, etc.

Re:Legal implications.... (2, Informative)

sabre307 (451605) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313724)

Unfortunately the law also allows for a private contract between a company and an individual. Although there is no criminal implications to jailbreaking your phone, there may be implications from the TOS contract that you entered into when activating the phone through AT&T/Apple. Personally, I believe that a law should be passed that states you have the right to do whatever you see fit with something that you have purchased. Though I wholly support AT&T's right to restrict your access to their network or Apple's right to restrict your access to their App Store if you have modified your device from their specifications, I think it is ludicrous to think that they have a right to DESTROY something that you bought and paid for without compensation for it. Imagine if Ford had the right to disable your car just because you didn't use OEM spark plugs in it. What if Sony could disable my television because I plugged a Sharp DVD player into it? Someone needs to come in and lay a smack down on Apple and teach them that they are not the rulers of the world, but suppliers of a commodity. THIS is why I own an Android phone and REFUSE to purchase an Apple product. I used to support Apple and felt they got a bad rap on things, but since they've had some success with the iP* devices, they have become a monster that the free market needs to come in and slay. I NEVER thought I'd say this, but I miss the dominance of Microsoft! They are a behemoth and not very innovative, but I can't think of an instance where they have shown the anti-consumer mentality that Apple has over the last decade. WAKE UP PEOPLE!

Re:Legal implications.... (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313738)

RTFA. Apple is not saying the intend to brick phones just for being jailbroken. They are talking about technology for determining when a phone has been stolen (or similar unauthorized use). I can understand people saying they don't want Apple doing this for them, but the idea itself isn't Evil. As someone whose phone was stolen.... gosh, I can see a certain appeal to it.

Dear Steve Jobs : (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313504)

Thanks for providing the incentive for the Anti-Apple app.

Yours In Vladivostok [youtube.com]
Kilgore Trout

FUD (4, Informative)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313506)

Reading this it becomes instantly apparent that "unauthorized use" is referring to users of stolen devices.

Jailbreaking is already legal. What use would it be to take a photo of a jailbroken user?

Theft is not legal. It would be VERY useful to have a photo of the user of a stolen device.

Re:FUD (4, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313570)

Jailbreaking is already legal. What use would it be to take a photo of a jailbroken user?

If someone broke out of jail and got their hands on an iphone, I imagine having a picture and location information would be very useful to the police. But that's probably not what you meant.

Re:FUD (5, Interesting)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313614)

Key points from TFA backing me up...
  • Claim 4 mentions jailbreaking but looks like they refer to it as a method of potential vulernability
  • Claim 10 refers to transfering sensitive user information to a remote site and then clearing the device of said information
  • Most glaring is claim 13 which refers to comparing heartbeats of the current using a heartbeat sensor and comparing it with a library of AUTHORIZED USERS

This whole post is straight FUD.

Re:FUD (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313658)

Most glaring is claim 13 which refers to comparing heartbeats of the current using a heartbeat sensor and comparing it with a library of AUTHORIZED USERS

Does this mean there's finally a method for preventing my cat from randomly dialing people in my contact list? It's about time!

Re:FUD (2, Informative)

glittermage (650813) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313678)

Jail breaking is considered legal under US law. However, nothing stops a carrier from determining that jail breaking violates your service agreement & then taking action against offending device.

Re:FUD (2, Informative)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313728)

Jailbreaking is a means of circumventing DRM. Ask the console modders how "legal" that is.

What they could do is detect that the phone has been hacked, then "brick" it on the assumption that is stolen or being used to pirate material.

Re:FUD (0, Redundant)

Kidbro (80868) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313730)

Theft is not legal. It would be VERY useful to have a photo of the user of a stolen device.

Very much so. Which is also why it is the opposite of useful that the tech is patented...

Re:FUD (1)

linumax (910946) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313796)

I agree that this reeks of FUD, however,

Jailbreaking is already legal. What use would it be to take a photo of a jailbroken user?

Voiding the warranty. Today, I can easily jailbreak and restore my phone as many times as I like without Apple noticing. In the new model, as soon as they suspect jailbreaking, they can take a picture and the next time I go to them to bug them about shitty reception, they'd tell me that my warranty is void (with proof) and they can't do anything to help me.

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313808)

If Apple always did the logical thing to not screw with users, I would agree with you. However, this is Apple. They are unpredictable a-holes who are very good at industrial design.

Stolen phones (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313510)

Ummm, isn't this probably intended for stolen phones?

Re:Stolen phones (1)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313644)


Ummm, isn't this probably intended for stolen phones?

That's what I was thinking. I use the 'Find my iPhone' app via MobileMe. The remote passcode change and remote wipe are already in place in that app.

Re:Stolen phones (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313654)

Ummm, isn't this probably intended for stolen phones?

According to the patent filing, yeah. Or any stolen electronic device, such as an iPod.

Speaking as someone who had an iPod Touch stolen this year, I'm not that concerned about it being wiped if it's stolen -- I'd rather it send pictures of the thief to the police or at least waterboard the fucker. Is that so much to ask, Apple?

Re:Stolen phones (1)

do0b (1617057) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313810)

Coming to you in 2012 iDevice: Now with remote self destruct sequence* *Police report required *Apple is not liable for misuse of feature, burns, destruction of property.

Unauthorized User? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313518)

The person you sold the phone to can be unauthorized? I think this is probably a patent on disabling stolen phones if that's the language they're using. It's basically the same feature that activesync had before iPhones came out with the addition of gps and photo data.

A new low (1, Troll)

domulys (1431537) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313520)

Using the camera to take pictures of the user ... assessing GPS to determine location ... remotely disabling device.

Apple, you've finally lived down to my expectations (and then some).

Re:A new low (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313620)

Add a functionnality that directs a mob of nearby Apple fanboys to the unauthorised user for lynching and I'll be impressed.

Re:A new low (2, Insightful)

bsdaemonaut (1482047) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313626)

It gets even funnier when you remember their old '1984'-based campaign, they've come full circle.

Re:A new low (1)

do0b (1617057) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313868)

If it's for their own usage then you're entirely correct.
If they place such tools under the control of the end user then they really are onto something!

*Shivers* (1, Interesting)

B33RM17 (1243330) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313526)

The level of control Apple wants to exert over its products has officially gotten scary. I wasn't really considering an iPhone as my next handset, but now it's entirely off the radar for me.

The wall around their garden just got a little taller...

Prior art (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313528)

Just about any radio system with some sort of ident signalling (5-tone, MDC, MPT1327, whatever) allows you to stun radios remotely, locking out all functions until they are either unstunned with the appropriate code or reprogrammed by the dealer. On many radios you can "kill" them by telling them to wipe their programming, requiring all the frequencies and idents to be programmed back in.

Yeah, great idea Apple (1, Interesting)

Rijnzael (1294596) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313532)

Apple's image will certainly survive a scandal resulting from the actual implementation of something in the vein of the patent application. I mean, spying on the possessor of hardware you provide because you're somehow suspicious of them has worked out well in the past [boingboing.net] .

And they're tracking the GPS location of the 'suspicious user'? What, do they plan to send the police at them as soon as they detect jail breaking? Apple really wants to open this legal can of worms?

Why does Apple keep trying to sell me an Android? (1)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313534)

Well, at least Google never does anything evil. Oh, wait..

Re:Why does Apple keep trying to sell me an Androi (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313704)

Citation needed.

You don't own your own hardware (0, Redundant)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313540)

That's about the size of it. This is why I never buy brand name anything if I can avoid it. Too many companies think they are just renting you their hardware, that they still own it, and that they can presume to disable it if they think you are not using it the way they want you to.

Fuck them.

Fuck them right in the ear.

I'd like to patent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313542)

I'd like to patent the use of the Apple logo as a decoration for the interior of a toilet bowl, or as a convenient target in a urinal.

this is good news (1)

FeatherBoa (469218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313554)

Wait! This is good news: by patenting, Apple prevents HTC, Nokia, Moto and all the others from bricking your phone when you unlock it. All the more reason for buying an open phone.

Re:this is good news (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313720)

NO they don't. all those companies could come up to there own way of doing it, or licenses it from Apple.

the evil empire (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313560)

stop right there #637421
the thought police will be with you shortly to escort you to the ministry of love.

HAHAHAHA....hehee...ho (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313562)

I guess people really don't know what they are getting [youtube.com] , do they?

The walled garden that people keep touting is looking more and more like a panopticon every day...perhaps now people will think twice about being bound hand-and-foot, bent over with arse presented for Mr. Jobs & Co. ?

Patents are not laws... (1)

pegdhcp (1158827) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313566)

The patent would allow the carrier or any other 'authorized' party to disable or restrict the functionality of the device.

The patent would not allow disabling. Apple already have the ability to block any device that they like to brick (which I belive is illegal, although IANAL). The patent would prevent other producers to sell similarly trapped devices without paying some "fee" to Apple. Having a patent to a method does not mean you are legally entiteled to use that method.

Let me one up Apple if that's even possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313568)

Now, what they need is a prediction system where they can precog your likelihood to jailbreak your iphone and remotely wipe it before you do.

Oh please, what a lame title (3, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313574)

'unauthorized usage' means a lot of things. It *could* mean jailbroken, but - to those with a brain - it means the ability to remote wipe your phone, find it if it is stolen, etc. Remote wipe is crucial on the enterprise. While I question the validity of the patent (how long has RIM had remote wipe?), the actions are valid. Jailbreaking is legal, there is nothing Apple can do to that, so get over it.

more like an anti-theft feature (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313580)

Macbooks suck when comparing their anti-theft features compared to Windows notebooks. Apple already has Find My iPhone for MobileMe subscribers but it's not very good. In this case if a phone is reported stolen it can take a picture of whoever finds it for easier identification by police

but imagine you're reading 1984 in iBooks and your phone suddenly starts saying "You are the dead" when Winston and his girlfriend are about to be arrested in the hotel. that would be a cool easter egg in the latest version of iBooks

Patent != Implementation (1)

mmzplanet (904697) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313588)

Sometimes even bad ideas need to be patented. Apple patents an awful amount of stuff that really will never exist. I think that this is one of them. If it does, it may not be for a jailbreak situation. File this under... can do, shouldn't do, won't do....... but no else can - or pay up.

this is great news (1)

blai (1380673) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313590)

It makes my dumb phone look much more reliable, relatively speaking.

Its legal. Leave it alone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33313600)

If the Copyright Office says that its legal to jailbreak an iPhone, then what right does Apple have to disable my device? I have broken no laws by jailbreaking my iPhone.

Sensationalism at its best? (4, Insightful)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313610)

This has nothing to do with Jailbroken phones. Where did the "anonymous reader" come up with that crap? From the first sentence in the abstract "This is generally directed to identifying unauthorized users of an electronic device." And nowhere in TFA does it say anything about Jailbroken phones. This is simply a twist on lojack.

Your Phone Is Watching You (1)

Botia (855350) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313616)

I remember when we used to make fun of people who thought their TV's were watching them. Now it's getting a little scary.

How to avoid it? (1)

e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313618)

Is it something in a past or future version of iOS?
I learnt my lesson... bought an iPhone 2 years ago... it will be my last Apple product. Ever.

Prior Art (1)

Exp315 (851386) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313622)

Huh? Didn't Slashdot publish a story just a couple of months ago about the same capability in the Motorola Droid? Maybe Apple's lawyers don't read Slashdot.

Apple just patents everything. (0)

jim03 (1301949) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313656)

They already do this as is the case, as was the case with the stolen iPhone 4 prototype. Apple just likes to patent everything that is possible to patent in order to cover their bases. It doesn't mean that they are actually going to implement disabling of jailbroken iPhones. And even if they did implement this to prevent jailbreaking, then a month later the jailbreakers would have a new version that thwarts this protection.

I think I've seen this before? (1)

fysician (1883118) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313662)

Wasn't there an app for this? Some dumazz got caught stealing someone's droid. Is this even patentable?

Ugghh.... (1, Troll)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313670)

That they are even attempting this only further cements my position that I will never, EVER buy anything from Apple.

And that is a good news for android users (1)

rafamvc (785548) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313692)

Because if they got the patent, it will make harder for the android parties to actually brick phones remotely.

i think the supreme court should... (2, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313752)

make it illegal for Apple & Microsoft and any other company to shutdown or "brick" a cellphone or game console any other product...

now as far as any modded product if someone mods the hardware that is legal but they might void the warranty and apple or microsoft or whoever can block it from their online service but they can not legally sabotage the product when it trys to connect, (just block it from connecting) the owner of the modded hardware are free to use some other service (which jailbreaking and modding was intended to accomplish anyway)

Not the first one here (1)

SlickNic (1097097) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313770)

I don't know why they are bothering with the patent, they are not the first to do this. The Wave Secure (https://www.wavesecure.com/) app will already let Droid owners do this, BB has a remote wipe feature which granted doesn't get your phone back but does (if you do it quick enough) protect your data. I would guess there are a few other companies that have apps to do the same. To me this is borderline patent abuse.

Seriously? (1)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313772)

What marketing genius is thinking this stuff up?

1. make cool product that everyone likes

2. alienate an entire segment of the population who would buy cool product

3. ????

4. profit!!??

No, but thanks for playing (4, Informative)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313800)

"Apple yesterday applied for patent to allow remotely disabling electronic devices when 'unauthorized usage' is detected. The patent application covers using the camera to take pictures of the unauthorized user and using GPS to determine location, and it involves ascertaining whether the phone has been hacked or jailbroken, using that as criteria for detecting 'suspicious behavior.' The patent would allow the carrier or any other 'authorized' party to disable or restrict the functionality of the device. Is this Apple's latest tool to thwart jailbreaking?"

This is why we should be able to rate stories -1 Troll.

Nothing in the linked article references jailbreaking. This looks way more like remote disabling for stolen phones - the same way that OnStar customers can call to say that their car has been stolen.

The specific means of identifying whether or not the current user is the one who is supposed to be operating the device is discussed, and in that context:

The method of [identifying a particular activity indicating a suspicious behavior], wherein the particular activity comprises one or more of hacking the electronic device, jailbreaking the electronic device, unlocking the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, and moving at least a predetermined distance away from a synced device.

So in other words, if someone steals your iPhone, they won't be able to thwart anti-theft devices by jailbreaking your phone or yanking the SIM.

Let 'em have it! (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313824)

If the makers of all the other phones actually have to pay a licensing fee to Apple to disable jailbroken phones, they probably won't bother to - for lack of a better metaphor - "put them in jail" in the first place.

.

Isn't jailbreaking legal? (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313838)

Wasn't it ruled that jailbreaking is legal?

So disabling a jailbroken phone would be 'destruction of property' or something like that.

Next up, GM remotely disabling your car (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#33313870)

when they detect that you have purchased gasoline from a non-GM approved gas station.
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