News of an iPhone "kill switch," which would enable Apple to shut down an iPhone remotely based on reports of theft or other suspicious behavior, has been bubbling up in the tech world for a while now. Late last week, Apple's patent application for the iPhone kill switch became public knowledge.
Digital Trends reports the iPhone kill switch patent lists to a number of behaviors that would lead to invoking the kill switch. They range from removing an iPhone's SIM card to jailbreaking it or even moving a certain distance away from a synced device.
Apple's patent filing on the iPhone kill switch also listed multiple means of determining whether a phone's user was legitimate. These varied from facial recognition software to voice analysis and "heartbeat sensor" technology that doesn't yet exist.
It makes some sense that Apple would want an iPhone kill switch. Being able to assure its customers that their iPhone could be completely disabled in the event of theft would provide peace of mind. But the technology related to the kill switch in the patent refers to so many intrusive means of checking whether a user is legitimate that privacy advocates are concerned the iPhone kill switch could be turned into a surveillance device.
For those who are worried about what the iPhone kill switch may or may not do, there is an option. CNet reports that Jonathan Zdziarski, author of an iPhone forensics manual, discussed how to kill the kill switch on his blog. After jailbreaking an iPhone, opening the file found under /etc/hosts and adding the following entry will block the kill switch:
- 127.0.0.1 iphone-services.apple.com
Whether this trick is really necessary is up to the individual iPhone user.
Article Â©2010 Brenda Daverin for Gather.com. All rights reserved.