Apple accused of abusing DMCA to take down viral tweet

Jailbroken iPhone
Jailbroken iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Security researchers are accusing Apple of abusing DMCA.
  • The most recent occurence has to do with a tweet that was taken down.
  • Hackers have been fighting Apple for years to find ways to jailbreak their devices.

Apple is being accused by security researchers of abusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for the takedown of a viral tweet. Reported by Motherboard, the tweet in question was an encryption key that could be used to jailbreak the iPhone.

On Sunday, a security researcher with the Twitter handle Siguza tweeted out what is believed to be an encryption key that could potentially be used to reverse engineer the Secure Enclave, Apple's secure chip on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac that handles encryption and stores sensitive data.

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A couple days after the tweet was sent, a law firm that has worked on behalf of Apple in the past sent a DMCA takedown notice to Twitter asking that the tweet be deleted. Twitter complied and removed the tweet until today when it reappeared on the site. Accordint to Siguza, the DMCA request was "retracted".

According to Motherboard, Apple confirmed that it was the company behind the takedown request. The company said that by the time it had retracted the request, Twitter had already taken down the tweet. Apple then reached out to Twitter to restore the tweet and the company complied.

Reddit post takedown

Reddit post takedown (Image credit: Motherboard/Reddit)

Around the same time, Reddit had received several DCMA takedown requests for posts by security researchers on the r/jailbreak subreddit. It is a popular area for security researchers and hackers to share ideas about how to jailbreak the iPhone and other Apple devices. Motherboard has not been able to identify who is behind the requests, but the Reddit community believes it to be Apple.

These actions are a chapter in a long history of tension between Apple and security researchers. Hackers have, after years of no jailbreak being available for the iPhone, recently discovered how to jailbreak iPhones running iOS 13 up to and including the iPhone X (iPhone XR, XS, and 11 are not affected). Researchers like Pwn20wnd believe that Apple is responding to the vulnerability by using the court system to stifle jailbreakers.

"They just completely lost control of the battle (Jailbreaking) on iPhone X and they are trying to pick up a legal fight and waste our time, thus money / resources."

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.