Apple: iPhone jailbreaking enables hackers, drug dealers and 'potentially catastrophic' cyberattacks

In light of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's push to make iPhone jailbreaking legal, Apple responded with a bunch of stuff that hopefully sounded good at the time, because it comes off as goofy scaremongering.

Apple's claims? Jailbreaking your iPhone "does violate a license agreement between Apple and the purchaser" and "taking control of the [baseband processor, or BBP] software would be much the equivalent of getting inside the firewall of a corporate computer — to potentially catastrophic result," the company's lengthy response reads.

The results Apple speaks of are laid out in some hypothetical situations: "By hacking the BBP software through a jailbroken phone… a hacker can initiate commands to the cell tower software that may skirt the carrier's rules… a local or international hacker could potentially initiate commands (such as a denial of service attack) that could crash the tower software, rendering the tower entirely inoperable to process calls or transmit data."

Yep, hackers will totally care whether it's legal or not to jailbreak an iPhone. So will drug dealers: "With access to the BBP via jailbreaking, hackers may be able to change the ECID, which in turn can enable phone calls to be made anonymously (this would be desirable to drug dealers, for example) or charges for the calls to be avoided." (Emphasis ours.)

The funniest part of it all is where Apple bullet-points some grievances with having its platform forced into the world of open-source development. The last reads: "Limitation on ability to innovate." It should have an added clarification of "without Apple getting a cut." It's worth mentioning that Apple itself was guilty of limiting innovation earlier this week, when it gave a Google voice app the boot from its store.

So, to review, Apple wants the iPhone to stay a closed system. A legion of innovative developers working in the jailbreak scene want to push the platform to its limit. The nefarious element Apple fears will do what it will no matter the legality of jailbreaking. Apple is confusing the issue here.

As for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, representing attorney Fred von Lohmann thought Apple's claims are silly, according to Wired, after telling regulators that there are probably more than a million jailbroken phones out there:

In an interview Tuesday, he said he suspected those phones have not been used to destroy mobile phone towers. "As far as I know, nothing like that has ever happened," he said.

He added that, if Apple's argument was correct, the open-source Android phone from Google on T-Mobile networks would also be a menace to society. "This kind of theoretical threat," von Lohmann said, "is more FUD than truth."

So, where does that leave us? Well, with open-source Android phones looking a lot more attractive for developers who don't want to have to work within the confines of Apple's App Store, that's where.

Via Wired