Apple beginning to ban jailbreakers from the App Store? [Update]

by Mike
Posted February 15th, 2010 at 7:32 am
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**Update: After a solid 8 hours have gone buy, I haven’t seen anywhere else on the net where random jailbreakers have been banned from the App Store. It appears for now, Apple is targeting the hackers who find exploits in the iPhone OS and then release new versions of jailbreak software for the rest of us. Are end users safe? For now it looks like it. But if Apple is moving to block exploit seekers, trickling down to the common user could be a very real possibility.

I’m not exactly sure what Apple’s rationale is here. Sure they’re going to remove the source of a small number of app pirates’ tools, but the reality of the situation is that Apple should be thanking these people. The community will always find exploits and be one step ahead of any overbearing organization — period! Not to mention, denying an iPhone from iTunes and the App Store isn’t too much of a big deal anyway. If those pirates are as ruthless as Apple claims them to be, they’ll have no problem getting pirated apps by other means and then installing them onto their banned iPhones after the fact.

See kids, it’s a simple game of cat & mouse. Only in this case, the mouse will never be caught.

***Resume normal reading :)

Consider the proverbial s*** this close from hitting the fan…

Jailbreaking an iPhone or iPod Touch isn’t exactly rocket science. So what motivates someone to do such a thing? For most, it is Apple’s continuous stubbornness and asinine policies that artificially limit the iPhone platform by failing to include such basic tasks as background processes, tethering, bluetooth sharing, unlocks and so on. And end user who purchases a phone has every right to modify it as they see fit…right? Wrong. Because of the BS “non-circumvention clause” in the DMCA, something as simple and harmless as jailbreaking an iPhone could soon be illegal if Apple has their way.

With that said, Apple has been pushing for some time now to outlaw jailbreaking. Thankfully we have consumer watch groups such as the EFF who realize the gross affront this is to consumers. In regards to outlawing jailbreaking, talk from Cupertino has been relatively quiet for several months now on the whole issue after it peaked early last summer. However, new developments being highlighted by a few iPhone jailbreakers and jailbreak software developers are signaling a wave of change that isn’t in the consumers’ best interest.

Two more prominent iPhone developers in the jailbreak scene — “Sherif_Hashim” (responsible for finding recent 3.1.3 exploit) and “iH8sn0wday” (Sn0wbreeze) have reported that their respective email accounts tying them to the App Store have apparently been banned. When either user tries opening up the App Store, they’re met with a message stating:

“Your Apple ID was banned for security reasons”

Security reasons? It’s worth noting that the entire time Apple has been trying to outlaw jailbreaking, they’ve rationalized their stance with technologically retarded government officials by saying that piracy is a massive problem in the App Store and categorizing anyone and everyone who jailbreaks as app pirates. Being that the massive jailbreaking population is talked about daily in some form or another, when a technologically deficient person or group looks at the possible number of active jailbreaking users, the false guise of massive piracy seems like a legitimate issue.

But as we all know, if you looked at all jailbreakers and picked out the ones who pirate apps, the number would more than likely end up being quite low. As touched on at the beginning of the article, most people jailbreak for purely functional reasons (ie: background processes, unlock, and UI changes). Not to mention, the endless pursuit to stop pirates won’t work. For a perfect example of how not to handle pirates — look at the music industry.

If Apple is in fact starting to go around banning jailbreakers, their already busy law team is going to start living in their offices there at Apple HQ. Banning a massive chunk of the iPhone user base and labeling them pirates when all they’re doing is trying to is change the UI of their phone or god forbid, listen to last.fm and read an email at the same fucking time is one of the worst possible decisions ever.

But for now, we must stress this hasn’t been “confirmed” yet. So far, the only two people (that we know of) that have received this message are the two jailbreak devs noted above. If and when casual jailbreakers start getting banned, be sure that I’ll update this post and let all of you know.

In the meantime, is anyone else experiencing an App Store ban? Stay tuned…

**In closing, I’d like to cut down the arguement “if you don’t like it, don’t buy into it”. Just because you buy a particular device or service doesn’t give the provider of said product/service the right or legal grounds to prohibit you, the person who purchased it, from modifying your own property how you see fit. If you buy a good, you own it. If “you bought it, you support it” argument was applied to all things in life, it would be a sick, sad world to live in. Common sense has to come in at some point, does it not?

9to5 Mac
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Electronic Frontier Foundation

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3 ResponsesLeave a comment
  • Jordan
    February 15, 2010 at 9:40 am
    Reply

    Yeah, just don’t let your email address publicly known on any highly frequented Jailbreak spots. the iH8Snow guy has posted his on his site and twitter, so has the sherif guy(as he is a member that helps others in the blogs at the iPhone Dev team block, so his is posted as well.

    I am pretty sure there isn’t something in the phone that is sending JB information to Apple that is causing them to ban, they probably have just put the ban on well known iTunes id’s. But, I guess we’ll find out.

    • Jordan
      February 15, 2010 at 9:41 am
      Reply

      Also, to add on to this, I do not get the ban from crApple.

      • Mike
        February 15, 2010 at 1:39 pm
        Reply

        Just wait, your time is comin’ ;)

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