Who’d have thunk that jailbreak software would get the legal ok? Last month, the U.S. Copyright Office ruled just that, saying that jailbreak applications do not violate federal law. Apple, of course, says otherwise, and encourages users to stick to their rules, thereby keeping their warranties valid and their iPhones pristine. Apparently, Apple filed for a patent a year and a half ago (published last week) for an application that would detect and restrict “suspicious behavior” — ie: any hacking of or tampering with the device. (Beware, hackers the world over!) CNET reports that Apple execs plan to email alerts to users whose iPhones might be in the hands of unauthorized users, going so far as to suggest that photo, voice and even heartbeat recognition software is in the works.
It’s an interesting prospect, especially considering the implication that users might not realize their phones are no longer on their person. If the iPhone is designed as a product people just can’t live without or look up from, these applications, then, must be created for the exception to the rule — ie: the person who isn’t a slave to a mobile touch screen (and may be smarter for it). How novel!
The benefits of such software make sense when it comes to preventing identity theft, since the proposed precautionary measures will automatically shut off sensitive info should an “unauthorized user” hack away. Stored bank info or naughty photos would immediately be wiped clean in the case of emergency. On the other hand, protecting open sourcing and unlimited access to all the Interweb offers fends off censorship in a most delightful way.
Caroline Walker is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. She has worked in both the entertainment and the nonprofit sector. Walker holds a BA from the University of Southern California and an MA from New York University’s Gallatin School.