Feeds

Apple users complain over MobileMe 'censorware'

EU crisis emails null rooted by Cupertino

Seven Steps to Software Security

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
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
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.