The point that this iPhone thing being spied on has been misunderstood *. But a lot too. And things are not even remotely as it is written in the newspapers especially Italian (at least, those accessible online here from Japan, the others probably took the hole). So let's try to clarify a bit.
And we're not talking about considering the fact that Steve Jobs said the "interception" thing en passant in an interview with Wall Street Journal, who has seen well, at least in the first instance, not to make us the title or a summary or a callout, because everyone has systems of this type (Nokia can also detonate telephones remotely, as does Toshiba with its batteries for laptops that catch fire). Nor is it that the espionage mode is not the one discovered by the self-styled hacker and security expert (the one who found the web address on Apple's servers who actually deals with something else, that is, to protect the reserved APIs of the part core of the operating system) or that the American sites and newspapers have not "gone mad" for the news and are giving it the same importance dedicated to state welfare policies in the programs of the candidates for the US presidency).
We are not even talking about the handful of applications so far removed from the App Store online store: the first, the "I Am Rich", which is a real mini-scam to the detriment of customers (one thousand dollars for software that does nothing if not demonstrate that they have some liquidity available: removed yesterday with protests from several customers, including a couple cheated). The second NetShare to connect the iPhone to the computer and make it use the Internet connection of the first (removed, replaced, permanently removed but never deleted from the phones of those who had purchased it). For a summary of all the applications removed from the App Store, please refer to this previous Macity article.
So what are we talking about? Steve Jobs's explanation of a thin fig leaf covering the king's pudenda: the "lever" (the kill-switch that Apple hopes never to use but which "would have been irresponsible not to put") says Jobs that it would be necessary in order to save the situation if some attacker managed to pass through the links of the preventive checks a "bad" application that steals confidential data or things like that, removing the aforementioned indicted and judged application without the possibility of appeal.
Well, obviously that is not the case. Here, ladies and gentlemen, there is talk of something else. And in the next few days the facts will give reason to what is about to be written: not only does the iPhone spy on its users, but you have Steve Jobs in his pocket looking at you. And that he started, from his position in the underground bunker of Cupertino where he has been living in prison for weeks surrounded by 30-inch Apple monitors and sitting on a pine cone of disused DotMac servers (shame because they were the good ones), to telephone the less flexible users in the use of the iPhone to explain how to do it.
The problem, Phil Schiller's marketing men discovered (on vacation in an unknown location and decided not to return to Cupertino in a short time for the reasons that you will soon understand), that this initiative wanted by Steve Jobs in person despite the contrary opinion of the whole PR and marketing division is generating some secondary and not very positive effects.
Not so much and not only the full-page articles in Italian newspapers, which have a rather limited impact, given that abroad what our giants of journalism write affects less than the personal announcements page of the Cameroonian diocesan weeklies, but above all for a peculiarity of the character of Jobs himself.
The fact that man monitors hundreds and hundreds of iPhones simultaneously, reads text messages, listens to phone calls (all in parallel on a system with five hundred different speakers that change transmission every 0.42 seconds), looks at virtual simulations of the phone such as programs they turn, as the accelerometer is oriented, where the customer's fingers are and how many they are. And, when Steve senses that there is a more intense disturbance in strength than usual, what does he do? But call the user, obviously, to explain paternally and benevolently where he is wrong and how to operate the device correctly.
About once every few seconds, therefore, Steve starts the call and begins in his characteristic voice soiled by the Californian accent: "Hello, this is Steve Jobs. Am I speaking to … ". The problem that whoever answers usually sends him immediately to that country or (worse) does not recognize him and asks who the hell he is talking to, who gave him the phone number and no, I don't buy anything and I don't break the boxes anymore. In the other twenty and passing markets where the iPhone is now being marketed (including Great Britain), then, they don't even understand when Jobs speaks for obvious language problems. And this terribly angers Steve Jobs, who has a temper, and who has so far used two techniques to vent the growing nervous. Or get out of the bunker for a moment (the trap door opens next to a hedge in the outdoor area of ??the Infinite Loop parking lot where employees who smoke are usually hiding) and fires everyone he catches smoking, including a gardener.
Or, press the evil "kill switch" button on the phone used by the offending user. Which Steve actually wanted because it serves first of all to delete until the last bit of the contents of the device (remote wipe), then appear written full of insults in English on the full screen (soon also in other 18 languages), finally take fire on the phone.
On Tuesday, yesterday, another Apple marketing manager got sick while three PR girls came out of the office announcing that they would look for a monastery in Greece, Italy or Utah to retire until the waters subsided. For the rest of us reporters and especially users, the only advice is to wait and understand how long this rather particular phase will last. Meanwhile, know that if you bought the iPhone, you also have Steve Jobs in your pocket. Watching you. And maybe he calls you. Or maybe he just sends you a text message on your birthday. Who can say that?
* If you want to know the real truth, we recommend you read this article which explains the technical details of the NON iPhone privacy problem.