When the news about iPhone's "remote kill switch" broke out into the net a week ago, my guts kept telling me not to write about it yet. And to tell you the truth, I was having a mental fight within myself on last Sunday, where I usually posted news & rumors about iPhone or Apple; whether or not to post my thought on this most buzzed rumor about iPhone.
The argument not to write & post it was simple enough; it was still a very vague rumor back then, every analysts and tech sites were giving different perspectives on it, and I sincerely believes Apple or Steve Jobs himself will eventually speak out to calm down the rumor that's getting louder everyday.
I guess I'm just being lucky, Steve Jobs indeed spoken and answer.
During an interview with Nick Wingfield from Wall Street Journal, Jobs was asked about the founding of a code inside the iPhone 2.0 firmware that suggested iPhones to routinely check an Apple Web site that could, in theory trigger the removal of the undesirable software from the devices.
Jobs confirmed such a capability exists, but argued that Apple needs it in case it inadvertently allows a malicious program -- one that stole users' personal data, for example -- to be distributed to iPhones through the App Store. "Hopefully we never have to pull that lever, but we would be irresponsible not to have a lever like that to pull," he says.
Of course, Jobs as usual only give out that much of information for everyone to hear. But we've got to be careful here, is the "lever" he was saying is the same as the one discovered by Jonathan Zdziarski? A URL inside the iPhone 2.0 firmware that downloads a list of "malicious" applications every so often to the iPhone, creating some kind of apps blacklist for dissabling unwanted apps for Apple; but not for you the iPhone owners.
There are two emerging concerns, threats if you wish to be extreme, after the confirmation of this iPhone's new ability. First one is a security concern within the iPhone 2.0 firmware itself, if Jonathan can found it, then doesn't that mean anyone can too? What will happened if hackers and bad guys are finding their ways to hijack the "lever", and use it for their own good?
Second, what we can do when someday Apple finally decided to pull the "lever"? Can we 100% trust Apple's judgement on which apps are good, and which ones are "malicious"? Most importanly, for who the judgements are going to serve best? For Apple, or for iPhone owners?
I don't have to give a far away of an example, two apps that have been pulled off from App Store: NetShare & Box Office. I think you already know what I'm trying to say...
Are you willing to put so much trust & power into somebody else's hand? I bet Steve Jobs' hand is as itchy as that boy pictured on the right. ~LOL~
Sources are from:
- Much ado about the iPhone's 'kill switch' (One More Thing)
- IPhone References Application Blacklist (Macworld)
- IPhone Software Sales Take Off: Apple's Jobs (The Wall Street Journal)
[blogged with my Treo 750v]