Feeds

Apple users complain over MobileMe 'censorware'

EU crisis emails null rooted by Cupertino

Boost IT visibility and business value

Apple has reportedly begun the filtering of outbound messages sent via its MobileMe service.

The fruity one has applied inbound filtering to inbound emails as a precaution against spam since last year. Last month, however, it began filtering messages that users sent using the service – for questionable reasons.

The upshot is that whatever email client a MobileMe user uses, their message will be blocked without notification, reportedly even if the offending content in question contains mild political criticism.

Reg reader Mike Conley, who was the first to tell us of the problem, said that one of three offending messages he sent was blocked because it mentioned the phrase "growing hostility against Frankfurt and Brussels". An email about civil unrest in Greece about the sovereign debt crisis/austerity budget was also dropped. Conley realised there was a problem because he sends messages to himself via bcc. He complained and one of the offending messages was transmitted only for the problem to reappear days later.

As a result, Conley has decided to stop using the service after having been a loyal fan for more than 10 years.

Conloy started a thread on the problem on an Apple user forum. The post was picked up by Reg reader Harris Upham, who confirmed that censorship seems to be taking place.

"I have a mobileme account myself, and I have tested this myself and I'm now convinced that mobileme is censoring outbound mail based on message body content," Upham told El Reg.

Generally speaking we're much more inclined to attribute this sort of thing to a technical screw-up rather than a deliberate policy. The alternative is truly chilly. All-American firm Apple has decided to censor political debate occurring via email for reasons unknown, exactly the sort of behaviour routinely practiced in China and roundly condemned across the political spectrum in the West.

It's very likely there's some innocent explanation to this, but since Apple consistently refuses to speak to us on information security, we don't know what this might be. Enterprise email security firms we asked were unable to shed much light on the behaviour, presumably since it is restricted to Apple's user-base and only visible internally. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?