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Apple pressures Toyota to kill jailbreaker ad

'Legality? We've heard of it'

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Apple has fired another shot in its war against iOS jailbreakers by pressuring Toyota to stop an ad campaign it was running on ModMyi.com, a website catering to jailbroken iPhones, and to pull a Toyota iOS "theme" available through the site.

"I received a call from our contact at [Toyota's ad agency] Velti this evening as well as an email asking me to please take the theme out of Cydia," writes ModMyi.com owner and founder Kyle Matthews on his company blog. "On the phone, he explained Apple had contacted Toyota and requested they remove the theme and stop the advertising campaign."

Toyota ad for jailbroken iPhones

The theme you now can no longer install on your jailbroken iPhone (source: ModMyi.com)

The ad on ModMyi.com and the theme, available through the Debian APT (advanced package tool) Cydia, had been hailed as the first endorsement of the jailbreaking community – estimated to number somewhere between 5 and 15 million iOS users – by a major advertiser.

That would now be, it appears, a major advertiser who prefers to keep its relationship with Apple a positive one more than it wants to take its message to some of the most tech-savvy iOS-device users.

Not that jailbreaking is a shadowy activity. Last July, the US Copyright Office's Librarian of Congress granted a set of exceptions to the Digital Milleneium Copyright Act (DCMA), one of which explicitly stated that jailbreaking was legal.

After that exception was announced, Apple released a statement that said, in part: "As we've said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhones as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably."

Apple followed up that announcement with a support document with the rather unambiguous and scarifying title of "Unauthorized modification of iOS has been a major source of instability, disruption of services, and other issues."

The same document notes that "It is also important to note that unauthorized modification of the iOS is a violation of the iPhone end-user license agreement and because of this, Apple may deny service for an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that has installed any unauthorized software."

Apple's statements that jailbreaking "can violate the warranty" and that they "may deny service" (emphasis added) have not been tested in any court action. Presumably a good argument could be made that any failure of an iPhone, iPad, our iPod touch that had nothing whatsoever to do with jailbreaking should remain covered by warranty.

Apple, however, doesn't need a court decision to pressure advertisers to not support the jailbreaking community – it only needs the clout enjoyed by its status as the 800-pound gorilla of mobile shiny-shiny. ®

Bootnote

In related news, on Monday the iPhone Dev-Team released the latest versions of PwnageTool and redsn0w, providing untethered jailbreaking for iOS 4.3.1, Apple's latest version – a release, the Dev-Team notes, that comes "Three years ago (almost to the day!)" since the first iPhone jailbreaking, of version 1.1.4.

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