Remote kill switches are nothing new and has been a feature of several mobile operating systems, allowing the OS’s maker to kill and delete unauthorized apps for security measures, but Apple’s new remote kill switch application takes that idea a step further by locking out jailbreakers. Although the United States Patent and Trademark Office may have granted Apple the patent, and given the company’s disdain for jailbreakers, the move seems natural, but it is still yet to determine if and when Apple implements such a system it will be legal.
Under the new terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the United States government effectively grants users of mobile phone operating systems the right to “jailbreak” or “root” their devices. However, the rule was broad enough as to not force manufacturers to make it easy for users to jailbreak. With the patent application, not only will Apple not make it easy for users to jailbreak, but the company will essentially lock out jailbreakers from a device that they legally purchase, which may not be legal.
The patent application goes hand-in-hand with the security patent to lock out unauthorized users, in the event the phone is stolen, but the patent application does go a step further by mentioning jailbreaking and unlocking as unauthorized usage.