19 Nov Oh help, iPhones are evil!
Category: iPhone

News has hit digg that Apple receives iPod Touch / iPhone IMEI numbers when someone queries the Calculator, Stocks, or Weather applications on the aforementioned devices. What I am about to tell you might be too harsh, but consider it fueled by the thousands of comments streaming in about “… fanboys justifying this …” and “if Microsoft did this!…”.

Operators of cellphone networks use IMEI numbers, or model-specific serial numbers, to track subscriptions, usage, and identity of devices on the network. It’s in the specification for GSM and UMTS. You IMEI is transmitted at every communication with every cell tower in your vicinity. And now people are crying wolf that Apple might or might not service you Weather and Stocks if your IMEI number isn’t valid? Ladies and gentlemen, this is a standard part of a standardized specification that is over 20 years old. Get over it.

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2 Responses

  1. 1
    Paul Taylor 

    This is really stupid. Network operators use IMEI numbers to blacklist stolen phones, yet people seem to think that networks don’t use them and Apple is invading on their privacy.

    IMEI numbers are sent to networks during every other second for crosschecking their blacklist, and this just isn’t with iPhone’s, it’s with every phone on practically every network. People need to understand that the IMEI numbers are quite a vital part of your phone, especially if your on a contract based payment system. Imagine losing your phone with out the ability to blacklist it to prevent people from making calls, they could rack-up hundreds even thousands of £/$/€ on your contracted bill.

    The only problem is though, people can still access the phones system and uses it’s functions (other than making/recieving phonecalls/sms and accessing the internet).

    But as for the widget’s using IMEI numbers, this can help Apple with a number of things. the iPhone is a much sought after product and I can imagine alot of thievery happening because of this, with Apple having access to the IMEI numbers in this way, they can block functions on stolen phones.

    Then there is always them being able to see who and how people are using these widgets.

  2. 2
    sebastiaan 

    Nice to see you’re still around, Paul – we should chat again sometime soon.

    In the meantime, it’s become apparent the ‘IMEI’ value in the string of text sent is really a UUID (application identifyer), not even the device IMEI, rendering the entire point useless. But then again, as many point out, even if the IMEI were to be sent, it wouldn’t matter either.

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