iPhone hacker says the device 'calls home' to Apple, allows apps to be remotely disabled

According to iPhone Atlas and iPhone hacker-extraordinaire Jonathan Zdziarski, Apple has readied a blacklisting system which allows the company to remotely disable applications on your device. Apparently, 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. In Jonathan's words:

"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."

Now honestly, we don't expect the folks in Cupertino to suddenly start turning off apps that you've paid for and downloaded, but if Apple is indeed monitoring iPhones or touches (even passively) for applications it doesn't want or like, it signals a problem deeper than a company simply wanting to sign-off on software for the device. Even on platforms like Symbian -- which calls for apps to be signed and traceable -- the suggestion that a process of the OS would actively monitor, report on, and possibly deactivate your device's software is unreasonable, and clearly presents an issue that the company will have to deal with sooner or later. Oh, and Apple -- we're not going to buy the "for your security" angle, so don't even bother.

[Via Mac Rumors]

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