Feeds

Apple disables Egyptian iPhone GPS

Wandering in the desert

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

If you buy your iPhone 3G in Egypt, don't expect it to help you navigate the trackless wastes of the Sinai or Akabat.

According to a story published by The New York Times, the Egyptian government has demanded that Apple disable the iPhone 3G's GPS capability as a condition of offering it for sale in that tightly-controlled country.

The Times reports that Apple has "apparently" acceded to the government's demands, even though GPS-enabled iPhone 3Gs are freely available for sale to Egyptians on eBay and elsewhere.

The Egyptian government's reported rationale - that GPS functionality should be limited to military purposes - indicates that Mubarek and Co. are living in a bygone age. For example, The Times article quotes one Egyptian blogger, Ahmed Gabr, as calling the de-GPS-ing of the iPhone "totally pointless" due to the fact that Google Maps "works flawlessly" in Egypt, allowing unfettered access to views of "places you’re not supposed to see."

Not that the Egyptian government is alone in its desire for control. Witness, for example, Google's self-censoring in response to the Chinese government's demands - or, for that matter, today's news that the Chinese government is continuing its efforts to have foreign computer companies disclose details of their security technologies.

As hard as repressive governments may try to keep their citizens in the dark, however, they're fighting a rear-guard action. The simple fact is - as Stewart Brand famously said back in 1984 - that "Information wants to be free." Although Brand used the word "free" in a financial sense - as in "without cost" - Webster's first definition of the word includes the phrase "enjoying civil and political liberty."

Information is a powerful solvent, dissolving shackles wherever it flows freely. The Egyptian government and its repressive brethren worldwide know that and are doing their best to keep it from liquefying their hold on power.

They're going to lose. It may take decades or longer, but the cat is out of the bag. The train has left the station. And the horses are out of the barn. Info-Elvis has left the building.

It's just a matter of time.

And when info is fully free, Apple will certainly be ready to adjust its marketing strategies and sell you the technology you'll need to access it. Even if you're an Egyptian. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.