How would you feel if you couldn’t read the news on your Apple device? We could ask the Chinese, whose Apple News is completely disabled while roaming in their country. It all started with a mild concern from Larry Saliblra, a software developed who noticed it and said that he found it “disconcerting”. But the real show started when The New York Times found a trustworthy source who confirmed that the News cannot be accessed from China.
The News app is somewhat special because it can be downloaded from the U.S. and some other test markets like Australia and the UK. These are the only 3 places you can get the app from. The problem is that, if you download and install from the U.S. for example, you should be able to see the News wherever you go in the world. With the exception of China, of course, and this brings us to the problem at hand.
The Chinese who are trying to access News cannot seem to do so and they are always prompted with the same error message which reads “Can’t refresh right now. News isn’t supported in your current region.” Salibra believes that this is a “China Kill Switch”, a way in which Apple simply disconnects users based on where they find themselves in the world.
But Salibra’s number one concern is not that China is being pushed out of the News area, it is because of something way worse. He claims that the mechanism involved can practically access your phone, see where you are in the world and change your settings without you allowing it to do so. It is a private breach and it can occur even if your location service appears to be disabled in your privacy settings.
Apple has yet to give any response regarding the matter. Some believe that they are up to something while others believe that the Chinese internet regulations are to blame. There is only speculation, nothing solid about it, but it does raise some questions about how far a company can go in terms of controlling your devices.
If an app can be blocked so easily, who knows what other things might be possible with our smartphones. And we are not only talking about Apple here. Most people have smartphones nowadays and if the Apple News is completely disabled while roaming, the feature can be used for multiple ill purposes like tracking down any person of interest or perhaps changing any further settings that could affect us more profoundly than we realize.
Photo Credits pixabay.com
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