Pursuing iPhone Thief, Officer Knew Right Buttons to Push is a cute little tale of a thief’s comeuppance and a perfect microcosm of the tradeoffs between security and privacy. The article relates how a New York City cop used the Find My iPhone app to locate and recover a stolen iPhone (and arrest the thief) in less than 30 minutes. The app is free to download and install and simple to use: enter the Apple ID and Apple Store password of the target phone in the app’s search screen, select Go, and the phone’s location pops up on Google Maps. You can track the phone as its location changes, lock it, and play a submarine-sonar beeping sound or send and display a message on it. All that’s required is that the target phone be signed into and have Track My Phone enabled on Apple’s iCloud.
And that’s where one trades privacy for security. Once activated anyone who knows the owner’s Apple ID and password can track the phone’s location. My wife left the house early this morning to play tennis. After reading the article I checked her location–indeed she was at the tennis facility. (Current iPhone technology does not allow me to verify that she was indeed “playing tennis” there.)
Comforting, or creepy?
Jon Stewart on the next-gen iPhone, Gizmodo, a police raid, and Apple becoming The Man.
I’m lying on my back to nurse a sore hip. I opened my phone for amusement and saw the WordPress app. I opened the app, spent 30 seconds setting it up and voilà! I’m couch-blogging. I’ve not decided whether this is progress.
A former student emailed a helpful response to one part of the iPhone post:
[Y]ou asked if unlocking it violated the DMCA. It looks like the answer is no. The DMCA provides an exception (since Nov. 06) to phone owners who unlock their phone in order to use it on another network. From what I have read, this was to allow customers to use their phones for their intended purpose, regardless of network. Apparently even ATT will give unlock codes to customers after 90 days. However, they will not give such a code for the iPhone, and claim not to have access to one . . . Check out this link. In general “Know Your Rights” is a very good series discussing copyright and DMCA issues. I think they have done another post about ringtones, which shouldn’t be hard to find. http://www.engadget.com/2007/08/24/know-your-rights-is-it-illegal-to-unlock-my-iphone/
And another former student sent this story: iPhone owner sues Apple for $1 million.
SAN JOSE, California (AP) — A New York woman is so angry at Apple Inc. for lopping $200 off the price of the iPhone that she’s filed a lawsuit seeking $1 million in damages. Dongmei Li of Queens, New York, claimed the company violated price discrimination laws when it slashed the price of the 8-gigabyte iPhone by a third, from $599 to $399, within two months of the gadget’s June debut.
Maybe I can join in. I’m still bitter that Apple stopped supporting the IIGS six months after I bought one in the late 1980s.
Thanks to Mike and JesseR.
A month ago the media was filled with stories about the New Jersey teenager who hacked the iPhone to work on cell carriers other than AT&T. Not one of the dozen or so articles I read then addressed the most obvious questions: Won’t this hack invalidate the iPhone’s warranty? Isn’t this hack vulnerable to an Apple counter-hack? Doesn’t it violate the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions? Last week, after Apple issued a software update that turned hacked iPhones into $400 paperweights, the media was filled with headlines such as this from the New York Times: Altered iPhones Freeze Up
This week Apple unveiled its long-awaited iPhone which, like all exciting new phones today, is a digital organizer, home entertainment center, game platform, camera, and close personal companion. It even makes phone calls. The name “iPhone” is a natural fit, joining iPod, iTunes, and iMac. It also belongs to Cisco, which, according to The Wall Street Journal today, registered the iPhone trademark in 2000. (The iPhone mark, Serial# 75076573, was actually registered on March 20, 1996 by Infogear Technology Corporation. Infogear assigned the mark to Cisco on June 5, 2000.) News articles about Apple’s iPhone release reported Cisco’s ownership of the mark and the fact that Cisco and Apple were negotiating terms for Apple’s use of the name. It is not a surprise, then, that Cisco countered iPhone’s debut by suing Apple for trademark infringement. I would love to have been a fly on the wall for Steve Jobs’ internal discussions about unveiling the phone with its rights to the mark unresolved. I wonder: how much is Apple willing to pay Cisco for exclusive rights to the name, and how much has Apple budgeted for legal fees?