Feeds

Apple disables Egyptian iPhone GPS

Wandering in the desert

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Infographic

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. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.