Vulnerabilities / Threats
9/28/2010
02:44 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Chinese iPhone 4 Forces Censored Maps

Apple's Maps application on the Chinese iPhone 4 will only show government-approved maps, unlike previous models.

Apple's iPhone 4 has been popular in China for months, despite the fact that it only officially went on sale there on September 25th. Enterprising individuals have been buying unlocked iPhones in the U.S. and shipping them back to China to be resold.

The official availability of the iPhone 4 is likely to limit such gray market sales, but there's still a reason for iPhone customers in China to buy an iPhone 4 from outside of the country: The iPhone 4 sold in China has been outfitted for censorship.

Stefan Geens, editor of geo-blog Ogle Earth, has posted an analysis of the Chinese iPhone 4 and found that its Maps application will only display the censored version of Google Maps approved by the Chinese government. Apple's Maps application, which comes with every iPhone and cannot be removed, relies on Google Maps.

"The built-in Maps app is crippled," he wrote in a blog post on Sunday. "My phone's base map is hard-wired to Google Maps' censored dataset for China, where the depiction of China's borders complies with the official propaganda of the Chinese government."

Google currently offers a Chinese-government-approved Google Maps (ditu.google.cn) for users in China and an uncensored version for users in Hong Kong (maps.google.com.hk).

With an iPhone 3GS, it would be possible to use the Maps application and see the maps presented to people in America or Europe. One could use a VPN and see the world the way the Chinese government does not want it to be seen. But the Chinese iPhone 4 appears to include localized software that prevents this, inside or outside of China.

There's another difference too: An iPhone 4 that was bought outside of China will serve Safari's Google search bar results based on the device's region format setting (under Settings > General > International). On the Chinese iPhone 4, the region format setting is ignored and all searches submitted through Safari's Google search bar send the user to a Google.cn landing page. The user can still click through to Google's uncensored server in Hong Kong but the extra step isn't the best possible user experience.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment. Google also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Chinese government requires that maps depict its view of the world. Companies that offer mapping services must receive government approval to operate in the country.

Earlier this month, China's State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping handed out its first Internet map licenses to 31 service providers. Google was not among them. Since March, Google has been reviewing the possibility of offering its map service in China while complying both with map censorship requirements and its pledge not to censor search results in China.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: "Why else would HR ask me if I have a handicap?"
Current Issue
The Changing Face of Identity Management
Mobility and cloud services are altering the concept of user identity. Here are some ways to keep up.
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7445
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

CVE-2015-4948
Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5660
Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

CVE-2015-6003
Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

CVE-2015-6333
Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio

The cybersecurity profession struggles to retain women (figures range from 10 to 20 percent). It's particularly worrisome for an industry with a rapidly growing number of vacant positions.

So why does the shortage of women continue to be worse in security than in other IT sectors? How can men in infosec be better allies for women; and how can women be better allies for one another? What is the industry doing to fix the problem -- what's working, and what isn't?

Is this really a problem at all? Are the low numbers simply an indication that women do not want to be in cybersecurity, and is it possible that more women will never want to be in cybersecurity? How many women would we need to see in the industry to declare success?

Join Dark Reading senior editor Sara Peters and guests Angela Knox of Cloudmark, Barrett Sellers of Arbor Networks, Regina Wallace-Jones of Facebook, Steve Christey Coley of MITRE, and Chris Roosenraad of M3AAWG on Wednesday, July 13 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss all this and more.