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Apple's 'Error 53' illegal?

Written by Thomas Mould on 15 February 2016

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A Seattle-based law firm has filed the first legal action against Apple after it was revealed how Apple has been deliberately “bricking” its customers’ iPhone 6s if they have had them repaired by a third party.

 Apple has faced a consumer backlash since it was revealed how thousands of iPhone 6 users had been left with permanently disabled phones after installing the latest iOS software.

Apple’s iOS 9 software update, launched last autumn, will lock the handset if it detects that the touch ID fingerprint recognition and/or the home button is not the original.

Victims who have complained to their local Apple store have been left shocked after being told by Apple staff that there was nothing that could be done to fix their phone and that they would have to buy a new one.

Apple has so far refused to defend the error 53 policy, except to claim the measure was a security feature.

The fact that no warnings were given to iPhone users that they could lose their phone – and all the data contained within it.

“No materials we’ve seen from Apple ever show a disclosure that your phone would self-destruct if you download new software onto a phone,” Cochran said. “If Apple wants to kill your phone under any set of circumstances and for any reason, it has to make it crystal clear to its customers before the damage is done.”

London-based barrister, Richard Colbey of Lamb Chambers, said he thought Apple’s bricking policy could well be seen as an offence under the Criminal Damage Act 1971, which makes it an offence to intentionally destroy the property of another.

Apple declined to comment on news of the legal action.

 

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