iPhone Hacking

And a new set of security headaches for Apple and its network partners to work on, for a device that’s on the “inside” of a closed network: iPhone Turned into Pocket-Sized Hacking Platform

Besides publishing shell code, Moore revealed multiple security chasms on Apple’s device: The first and most shocking is that each and every process running on the iPhone—from the mobile version of Apple’s Safari browser to its mail client and even the phone’s calculator—all run with full root privileges. What that means: A security vulnerability in any iPhone application can lead to complete system takeover.

“A rootkit takes on a whole new meaning when the attacker has access to the camera, microphone, contact list and phone hardware. Couple this with ‘always-on’ Internet access over EDGE and you have a perfect spying device,” Moore said.

Others agree. “The shellcode combined with the number of bugs present in the iPhone finally make mobile attacks a real threat,” wrote Errata Chief Technology Officer David Maynor in a blog posting.

See also iPhone Security Hellhole?

When Legislation and Architecture Combine

From Digital Photography Review: New EU rules set to limit video capture

The CIPA Camera & Imaging Products Association has today released a statement on the recent re-classification of certain digital cameras as video camera recorders. The new EU rule states that any digital still camera with a resolution higher than 800×600 and the duration of video of 30 minutes of more at 23 fps or higher must now be classified as a video camera recorder and hence be taxed at a higher rate. This new legislation will undoubtedly mean that any promise of serious video capture on digital still cameras becomes an even more remote possibility.

The CIPA statement

Markey Sticks It To The FCC and Its Processes

FCC accused of unfairly aiding some firmspdf

From giant phone companies to small consumer advocates, the Federal Communications Commission is supposed to treat every group equally. But congressional investigators have found some companies and trade groups have received special treatment.

FCC officials tipped them off to confidential information about when regulators planned to vote on important issues — a clear violation of agency rules that provided an unfair lobbying advantage, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office to be released today. Other interested parties — generally consumer and public-interest groups — did not get such favorable treatment, the report said.

“It is critical that FCC maintain an environment in which all stakeholders have an equal opportunity to participate in the rulemaking process and that the process is perceived as fair and transparent,” the report said. “Situations where some, but not all, stakeholders know what FCC is considering for an upcoming vote undermine the fairness and transparency of the process and constitute a violation of FCC’s rules.”

Markey’s subcommittee had a notable hearing yesterday: Digital Future of the United States: Part VI: The Future of Telecommunications Competition — Markey’s press release/opening statement (pdf) is certainly inflammatory:

It’s as if the FCC several years ago picked up a loose football on the field after a collision and started running with the ball full speed toward the wrong end zone. Our international competitors look on at what we’re doing and must be stunned. That’s because we started this Internet game ranked #1 in the world because we invented it and now we’re number 15th. People quibble with the methodology of the OECD rankings, but regardless of how you slice it – price, speed, percentage of subscribers – the U.S. is no longer in the top tier and we continue to drop.

Many other Nations took one look at our broadband situation, learned from our experience, and took the opposite approach. Japan and U.K. implemented the very policies that the FCC had gradually eliminated in recent years, such as local loop unbundling and broadband resale, which facilitate competition using the incumbent’s plant, regardless of technology. These foreign competitors are now enjoying broadband success stories.

The United States, however, continues taking the opposite approach. We’re digging ourselves a hole and we’re now in violation of the First Law of Holes, which is, if you’re in one, stop digging.

Local copy of the GAO Report: FCC Should Take Steps to Ensure Equal Access to Rulemaking Information

An Implacable Competitor Tries Again

But just how far will Microsoft push an industry that doesn’t seem to want to innovate? Microsoft Updates Its iPod Competitor

But one of the most striking changes had to do with Microsoft’s effort to enhance what had been perhaps the most talked-about feature on the original device: the ability to share music files and other media wirelessly with other Zune owners. Far too few people, however, purchased the player for such sharing to become commonplace, and the function held little appeal because it was crippled by usage rules negotiated with the music industry. Shared songs expired within a few days, even if the recipient did not play them. And a file acquired from one Zune user could not be shared with a third user.

Under the new rules, Microsoft said, shared songs would have no expiration date and it would be possible repeatedly to pass along songs sent from one device to another. But a shared file can be played only three times on each Zune.

From the LATimes: Zunes not likely to get iPod fans to change their tunespdf

Otherwise, what the Zune can and can’t do is complicated.

It can play back television shows recorded at home, for example, but only if the shows were recorded with the aid of the fanciest versions of Microsoft’s new Vista operating system for home computers.

Microsoft has its own electronic music store in answer to Apple’s iTunes, and tracks purchased there can play on the Zune or on a PC.

But music bought elsewhere and restricted by either Apple’s or Microsoft’s copy controls can’t be transferred to the mobile player.

[…] “It’s fine to say you want to be a credible alternative to Apple,” Jupiter Research Vice President Michael Gartenberg said. “But the market isn’t looking for credible alternatives. People are looking for iPods.”

Later – the NYTimes offers up some space for its hero to expound on the Zune — As for Music, Gates’s Taste May Not Be Adventurous but His Strategies Are

Another Try At A Net Neutrality Argument

The Xerox machine story is a nice touch: The Verizon Warning

Our democracy is built on basic freedoms not being left to individuals, or individual companies. And there is special cause for worry in our business. American newspapers can resist government intimidation because the Constitution is on our side, but also because we control the presses. That is the real meaning behind “freedom of the press,” and authoritarian societies know it. In the 1980s in the Soviet Union, you had to have a license from the Communist Party to own a Xerox machine; the Soviets understood that it was a printing press.

If newspapers were delivered over mobile phones, a company could simply cut them off because it did not like a particular article. This is not the stuff of a futurist essay. Freedom of speech must be guaranteed, right now, in a digital world just as it has been protected in a world of paper and ink.

Chickens, and Eggs

“If you build it, they will come” is being challenged: Japan Leads U.S. in Fast and Cheap Internet Connections

Nearly eight million Japanese have a fiber optic line at home that is as much as 30 times speedier than a typical DSL line.

But while that speed is a boon for Japanese users, industry analysts and some companies question whether the push to install fiber is worth the effort, given the high cost of installation, affordable alternatives and lack of services that take advantage of the fast connections.

[…] “While you might not want to replicate the same pathway as other countries, we are falling seriously behind,” said Charles H. Ferguson, author of “The Broadband Problem.”

Mr. Ferguson said the substandard American broadband infrastructure shaved as much as 1 percent off the nation’s potential productivity growth. Faster broadband services would allow telecommuters to use better videoconferencing equipment and more easily share multimedia documents, he said.

See also Rep. Edward Markey’s statement: Opening Statement of Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-MA); House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet Hearing on the “Digital Future of the United States: The Future of Telecommunications Competition;” October 2, 2007.