iPhone handcuffs

apple-live-2Apple has launched a new model in their iPhone line called iPhone 5S on 20th of September 2013. The newly implemented functions of 5S are:

  • Touch ID, a fingerprint recognition system built directly into the home button which can be used to unlock the phone and authenticate App Store and iTunes Store purchases, and an updated camera with a larger aperture and a dual-LED flash optimized for different color temperatures. It also introduced the 64-bit A7 processor (which Apple claimed was the first 64-bit processor to be used on a smartphone), accompanied by the M7 “motion co-processor”, a dedicated processor for processing motion data from its accelerometer and gyroscopes without requiring the attention of the main processor.

Now think twice before buying this product.

Previous models of iPhones already introduced a non-removable battery. A simple understanding of electronics will reveal you that a mobile phone software controls the phone hardware, and while iOS mobile operating system is a proprietary one, none of the users really knows how it operates. For example, you can power off your phone in the software, but you cannot remove the battery, so in theory it would mean that the phone is still under power and allows “someone” to trigger remote surveillance. Now look at the new “handcuffs” implemented with 5S. While it might sound convenient not having to type in the PIN code each time you use your phone, it can also have negative consequences. Imagine you have your iPhone 5S or whatever similar “Touch ID” device in your pocket and it has your Apple account and fingerprint lock, so obviously the hash of your fingerprint is stored. Then you play with the iPad Air in the store and it sends you a notification in your pocket giving you an offer to get 10% off if you buy an USB charger with it. And don’t forget the integrated GPS system that allows remote tracking.

So what can you do to avoid this type of tracking methods is to simply avoid using these type of devices. Or at least avoid using a smartphone that has all possible add-ons and use a “plain” mobile phone instead that can only be used for making and receiving calls. If you cannot avoid the need for a smartphone, you can use Replicant which is a fully free Android distribution and runs on several smartphone and tablet devices. You can read more about the iBad and anti-DRM campaign on Defective by Design website . Please also consider making a monetary donation to support freedom to the Replicant campaign or the Free Software Foundation.



Author: Jan Prunk

Jan Prunk, Free software / GNU Linux enthusiast from Slovenia.

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