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Electronic Frontier Foundation DRM IOS Privacy Programming Apple

EFF: Apple's Dev Agreement Means No EFF Mobile App For iOS 220

schwit1 writes The EFF launched a new app that will make it easier for people to take action on digital rights issues using their phone. The app allows folks to connect to their action center quickly and easily, using a variety of mobile devices. Sadly, though, they had to leave out Apple devices and the folks who use them. Why? Because they could not agree to the terms in Apple's Developer Agreement and Apple's DRM requirements.
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EFF: Apple's Dev Agreement Means No EFF Mobile App For iOS

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  • from change.org
    that a few internet idiots "sign" thinking that those in power will care. while us old people go out and vote and elect the people the internet idiots complain about?

    • The internet idiots are also voting for the very people they complain about and then reelect them as many times as they can, makes them even bigger idiots. And of course we have the fools who believe the republican and democrats are actually in opposition to each other.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        The internet idiots are also voting for the very people they complain about

        It's hard not to when both the Republican and the Democrat in a particular House or Senate race have received campaign donations from the same organization with whose legislative vision a voter disagrees.

        and then reelect them as many times as they can

        Even a policy of always voting against the incumbent fails if the same bad actors are financing both candidates' campaigns.

    • Yes, you get elect a person from a limited group, one carefully selected for compliance by the corporations and the powerful via their proxies, the political parties.

      You may even think it makes a significant difference which candidates you pick. Most often, it makes no difference.

      It makes more difference which products you choose to buy. The real trick is figuring out what that difference will be. All corporations aren't as clearly aligned as the Chick-Fil-A leadership, who wear their objectives on their sl

    • by koan ( 80826 )

      What's the weather like up there?

    • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

      from change.org that a few internet idiots "sign" thinking that those in power will care. while us old people go out and vote and elect the people the internet idiots complain about?

      some of us write directly to the politicians and vote, that really gets their attention.

  • by danaris ( 525051 ) <danaris@mac.POLLOCKcom minus painter> on Thursday January 08, 2015 @02:47PM (#48767727) Homepage

    Well, I'm sorry for the EFF, then, but everyone knows what the terms are to get an app in the iOS App Store.

    This sounds, to me, like the EFF allowing slavish adherence to their principles to prevent them from doing something that might actually help real people in the real world advance those principles in meaningful ways.

    Either that, or they just realized they could use it as a publicity stunt.

    Dan Aris

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Thursday January 08, 2015 @03:16PM (#48767981)

      Either that, or they just realized they could use it as a publicity stunt.

      This.

      There are TWO "app stores" that every iOS device has access to. The walled garden is the obvious one, but there's one where there is NO DRM, no approvals, nothing. And it was around since the original iPhone and since iPhoneOS 1.0

      It was Apple's original SDK strategy, too.

      It's called a web application [apple.com] and it uses HTML and JavaScript to do everything. You "install" it via Safari and it shows up as a icon in the home screen. No approvals from Apple are required (it's just a very specially formulated link), it can do a lot of things already (thanks to HTML5 integration) and is completely DRM-free. Do it right and it's practically native.

      Oh yeah, you can program it in any OS, no Mac required :). As a bonus, it'll be usable on other OSes, too. (I think Android has the same ability too).

      • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Thursday January 08, 2015 @04:13PM (#48768633)

        Web apps don't count, have never counted, and never will count. That's why Apple deigned to allow people to write real apps -- something they adamantly did not want to allow when the iPhone was first released.

        • by Karlt1 ( 231423 )

          So name one feature of this app that couldn't be done on a web browser?

        • Web apps don't count, have never counted, and never will count. That's why Apple deigned to allow people to write real apps -- something they adamantly did not want to allow when the iPhone was first released.

          The iPhone was designed to only support web-apps. It was only iPhone2 that opened up for native apps after consumer and developer pressure.

      • This isn't really correct. HTML5 apps aren't even remotely as smooth as a native iOS app, particularly when it comes to scrolling and window moves. I have a few on my ipad. Developers will use them in a pinch but pretty much just until they are able to get a native app approved.

        -Matt

    • by TopherC ( 412335 )

      Well, I'm sorry for the EFF, then, but everyone knows what the terms are to get an app in the iOS App Store.

      This sounds, to me, like the EFF allowing slavish adherence to their principles to prevent them from doing something that might actually help real people in the real world advance those principles in meaningful ways.

      Their specific complaints about Apple's license agreement make it sound to me like a practical, real-world problem. I don't think the petition will garner any response from Apple directly, but it's useful for educating people who don't bother to read carefully the entire agreement before signing up. There are certainly a lot of things in that agreement that will cause me not to click Agree.

      Their first objection alone makes it obvious why the EFF cannot provide the equivalent iphone app: "Ban on Public State

    • by GlennC ( 96879 )

      ... allowing slavish adherence to their principles... or they just realized they could use it as a publicity stunt.

      Why can't it be both?

    • by 605dave ( 722736 )

      Exactly. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. Plus ask Mozilla how their purity stands over h.264 and not using WebKit on iOS worked out...

    • Well, I'm sorry for the EFF, then, but everyone knows what the terms are to get an app in the iOS App Store.

      Yes, of course everyone knows [xkcd.com].

      The headline and other content is all old news, only perhaps a first exposure to anyone who hasn't read much about the Apple development process. The linked article is from March 2010 [eff.org], almost five years ago.

      EFF announced a new app for Android, so the first two sentences of the /. post are great and newsworthy. Everything else in this submission is just inflammatory clickbait.

    • Exactly. The EFF's only job is to apologize for Google and make piracy seem legit. They're just piracy apologists.
  • I agree with a few of the items they list, but not with the "DRM" (it's not really DRM in the classic sense) issue. I personally think that's important to maintain app store security that protects non-technical users.

    But to not release an application over this is absurd. This potentially hurts many more people than it helps... you can still complain, still put together a petition while still delivering the app - in fact it's MORE of a statement because it goes against the clause that developers "cannot ta

    • which is the last link in the submission. I'm an EFF member and re-upped last month and couldn't be prouder and their reasons are all sound.

    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

      I personally think that's important to maintain app store security that protects non-technical users.

      Android's model is perfectly fine. The play store is there by default. The ability to use other stores is off by default.

      Non-technical users are perfectly safe. My mom is NEVER going to alter those settings or go outside the official app store. Neither do my in-laws.

      But I can have F-droid, and support HumbleBundle, etc.

      There is NO justification for Apple's policy except greed and control.

      • My mom is NEVER going to alter those settings or go outside the official app store. Neither do my in-laws.

        The clueless old folks might not. The clueless kids certainly will.

        • by vux984 ( 928602 )

          The clueless old folks might not

          They are the ones that need protection.

          The clueless kids certainly will.

          They're not clueless, just unwise. There is a big difference. They aren't fooled into thinking the chinese app store with pirated games is in any way official; they aren't accidently unchecking the 'allow software from untrusted sources' button because they got confused... they know what they are doing and what they want.

          They don't need protection.

          • They're not clueless, just unwise. There is a big difference.

            There is NO DIFFERENCE in terms of millions of people being easily infected in ways that are not really possibly with iOS devices.

            You also blow over the whole app permission debacle on Android, where you have to agree to all permissions up front - even without outright malware that leaves just about everyone open to tons of spyware that happily lives in the official Google store.

            • by vux984 ( 928602 )

              There is NO DIFFERENCE in terms of millions of people being easily infected in ways that are not really possibly with iOS devices.

              The "millions of people infected on android", by and large are in eastern markets on unofficial / pirate stores (often pre-installed on their phones by crappy local vendors. The infection rate from the offical app store is very low to the point that its still news when it happens.

              There are not millions of infected androids in the West due to the ability to select another app sto

          • They're not clueless, just unwise.

            Take a look around sometime.

            And certainly they do need protection. (Where clueless kids using smartphones is a wide category from about 5 to about 35.) Insightful knowledge of the dangers of the internet does not come along at the same time as the ability to switch on other app-stores.

            • by vux984 ( 928602 )

              Take a look around sometime.

              So what do you suggest?

              I already suggested it be a $1 app to add the UI for the feature to switch. That'll keep out the young kids. And make darn sure nobody just does it without thinking. Putting even a small price on something stops the VAST majority of people from getting it.

              Insightful knowledge of the dangers of the internet does not come along at the same time as the ability to switch on other app-stores.

              And being able to cause yourself serious personal injury and damage to

              • I already suggested it be a $1 app to add the UI for the feature to switch. That'll keep out the young kids.

                Nice idea.

                do you also advocate vehicles have dealer locked hoods that only they can open?

                I know car metaphors are de-rigour here, but that's really not a good metaphor. This is approvals of add-ons and consumables, not repairs. And there are a few other examples. Games consoles, printers, razors.

                The bizarre thing is it's framed as if it's imposed on consumers. But of course it isn't. It's entirely opt-in. There's a large number of people that are willing to pay a bit extra for the safety and quality that the iPhone platform gives. And one of the important mechanisms by which that safe

                • by vux984 ( 928602 )

                  Nice idea.

                  I can't tell if that's sarcasm or not. :) But I sincerely think it would be a somewhat reasonable solution.

                  I know car metaphors are de-rigour here, but that's really not a good metaphor. This is approvals of add-ons and consumables, not repairs. And there are a few other examples. Games consoles, printers, razors.

                  I actually think games consoles, by virtue of their transformation to using software/online stores deserve to face the same criticism as iOS here.

                  People aren't being MADE to be safer. The

    • by samkass ( 174571 )

      in fact it's MORE of a statement because it goes against the clause that developers "cannot talk about the developer contract".

      That clause was removed years ago. The EFF quoted a very old version of the agreement.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday January 08, 2015 @02:57PM (#48767821) Homepage
    This isnt just an EFF issue, although I can see them using this publicity to highlight the greater point. Apple TOS for the store is nothing short of a labor camp for developers. Apple owns content lock, stock, and barrel. Compared to Android they control far more of the application, its licenses, its content and how it interacts with users than many programmers are comfortable with. The cusp of their assertion is that you dont make money with your app, Apple makes money with your app. Youre just the fingers on the keys.
    The app store highlights a controversial opinion but it must be said: Steve Jobs was no hacker, and he certainly wasnt the laureate inventor we all insist upon. he was just a very successful and very lucky businessman who was every bit as ruthless and myopic as Bill Gates. He just had a better PR team.
    • I think your analogy of ruthless and myopic missed the target; Gates pales in comparison to the likes of Rockefeller, Carnegie and never mind how bad United Fruit was to Central America. The Apple walled garden approach comes with the territory of buying and using Apple products. Those who buy the devices want this kind of environment and there are alternatives. Competitors may not like the fact that Apple's TOS locks them out and Developers may be annoyed that Apple gets its cut, but there's alternativ

    • Calling bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Thursday January 08, 2015 @03:25PM (#48768101)

      It's a labor camp where people are making money.

      Go back to the day to app stores like getjar. Did you even know they existed? Did you know how people bought and sold software before app stores? Did you know how developers did?

      I do, and it was expensive to sell. The app store led the way to what is almost a zero-cost way to sell your software. You didn't have to provide a few thousand copies of your software as "payment." You didn't have to print a box, manual, and make physical media.

      Saying the app store and its execution weren't a great revolution shows that you are totally ignorant of how software was made and sold only a few years ago. Small developers for software really didn't exist. Nobody pays for shareware, and making a living as a small dev was basically impossible. The app store basically recreated the hobby developer market, period, and brought it to a level of mainstream that was never attained by normal PCs.

      Better PR? Apple does have better PR. But Apple also does things that nobody else things will work, and makes it work well. Making something work well is substantially harder than you can imagine.

      • Do you actually make a living selling those 99 cent apps on App Store? As in, you don't have another day job?

        That's pretty hard. Very rare.

        Saying the app store and its execution weren't a great revolution shows that you are totally ignorant of how software was made and sold only a few years ago. Small developers for software really didn't exist. Nobody pays for shareware, and making a living as a small dev was basically impossible. The app store basically recreated the hobby developer market, period, and brought it to a level of mainstream that was never attained by normal PCs.

        That's not true at all. Small devs sold on their own website (and they still do). I bought all kinds of Windows software from small devs. A few examples of stuff I bought (there are many others but not all of them are still around):

        flashpanoramas.com
        sourceguardian.com
        supertintin.com
        easypano.com/virtual-tour-software.html

        They have trial versions they distribute on downloa

      • It's a labor camp where people are making money.

        Where only a small percentage of people are making money. Most do not.

        Saying the app store and its execution weren't a great revolution shows that you are totally ignorant of how software was made and sold only a few years ago. Small developers for software really didn't exist. Nobody pays for shareware, and making a living as a small dev was basically impossible.

        I have decades of experience doing that, and all I can say is that you're dramatically overstating things. Small software developers were, until the last ten years or so, the most common type of developer. They made money. Not everyone, of course, but percentage-wise I think they did better than developers who exclusive use Apple store.

        The app store basically recreated the hobby developer market, period, and brought it to a level of mainstream that was never attained by normal PCs.

        That's just silly, unless you're talking just about hobbyist Apple developers. The hobby developer market seemed to be largely unaffected by the Apple store. The parts of the hobby sphere that are the most vibrant and growing have nothing to do with iPhone development.

  • by MadCow42 ( 243108 ) on Thursday January 08, 2015 @03:03PM (#48767877) Homepage

    The things they're complaining about are certainly restrictions on freedom... but they directly address security concerns and protect the user at the same time. It's a walled garden - good and bad. Why can't they simply write a web app for this instead, and stop their complaining?

    There's a reason that Apple's devices are smooth, reliable, and stable... and you just can't have that when you live in the Wild West of completely open software. Yes, it means putting some trust in a company to get there, but I don't see that as any worse than the alternatives.

    So EFF - I have made large donations to you in the past, but pick your battles and stop wasting my time and money on the bad fights.

    • by Lussarn ( 105276 )

      There's a reason that Apple's devices are smooth, reliable, and stable... and you just can't have that when you live in the Wild West of completely open software. Yes, it means putting some trust in a company to get there, but I don't see that as any worse than the alternatives.

      Oh please, come back in a year when the first major (pretty much mandatory) update hits you 1GB RAM phone, no more smooth and random crap like copy/paste stops working. Come back when Apple hardware at least runs 1% of the servers on the internet, which has to be reliable and stable. As of this moment it is the Wild West composed mostly of completely open software...

      A modern phone is a small computer, nothing more, nothing less. There is no need for this hunkydory Apple store lock ins. It's not especially h

    • by suutar ( 1860506 )

      which security issue is addressed by "the first rule of Dev Club is you cannot talk about the rules of Dev Club"?

    • by 605dave ( 722736 )

      My thought too. None of their objections were over restrictions against a functionality they were trying to deliver. The objections were all philosophical.

  • by xfade551 ( 2627499 ) on Thursday January 08, 2015 @03:07PM (#48767913)
    They sat down at a meeting, Junior PR Guy: "We should make some mobile apps!"
    Senior Manager: "That's a great idea!"
    Principle Lobbyist: "Apple's TOS sucks, we can't do that!"
    Senior PR Guy: "Wait, wait... we can use this. We'll do the Android app, then make a public complaint that we can't release the iOS app because of Apple's TOS. But we don't actually have to build the iOS app."
    Senior Manager: "I approve, go for it!"
  • Sounds like good marketing by the EFF. They throw a hissy fit, gets people to notice that they have an app.

  • that was published in 2010.

    Look at the last link in the post. It's from March 9, 2010.

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/... [eff.org]

    • Thank you, I wondered if anyone else would have caught that.

      5 years later, Jobs has been dead for over two years, Tim Cook is at the helm, there are open-source apps, and the developer agreement has changed a lot. The "imminent launch of the iPad" has been replaced by "Tablet Sales Growth Plummets In 2014" and we still don't see an EFF app.

      I haven't been too worried about it though.

    • Are you suggesting that the current version of Apple's iOS developer agreement does not contain the 6 items that the EFF highlighted?

  • It sometimes helps to play by the Devil's rules. You can't fight without getting dirty or win wars with smiles and flowers.
  • by jtara ( 133429 ) on Thursday January 08, 2015 @04:50PM (#48769059)

    All of the terms cited are completely irrelevant to this particular app. They are general terms that all app developers have to adhere to. NONE of them would prevent the publication of their app. It's just that they don't like the terms. And, so, they don't have to accept them.

    [quote]Contract restrictions aside, the final barrier was knowing that we’d be required to include a form of Digital Rights Management (DRM).[/quote]

    That's not true. There's no DRM that authors are "required to include". The platform includes it for you. Yes, it is Apple's store, apps are sold on Apple's terms.

    [quote]DRM means that Apple is putting technical restrictions on what you can and can’t do with your app. When we create tools for EFF, we want them to be broadly available to others to use, adapt, and customize. That’s why we work to make our technical projects based on free software, and avoid DRM.[/quote]

    No, it doesn't. It means users can copy it willy-nilly. They have to download it from the store. They can't alter it. That is the agreement users have with Apple.

    You want users to be able to modify the application? Fine. Put it in the public domain or publish under and open-source license. Publish the source code. Anybody who wishes to become an Apple developer can copy it, modify it, and publish it as their own. Or simply install and use on their own devices.

  • Basically their "app" could be easily handed as a mobile ready website?
  • I think the article should have listed the 4 issues the EFF had with Apple:

    1) Ban iOS developers from ever speaking about the developer agreement.

    2) Ban iOS developers from jailbreaking an Apple device, or even enabling others to do so.

    3) Require Apple to approve every security updates. They were concerned that unaddressed security bugs could linger and leave users at risk.

    4) Wrap every app in the Apple store with "unnecessary: DRM, which limits what users can do with their apps.

    ____

    Now my editorial.

    (1)

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