iMessage is an epic privacy fail

iMessage is Apple’s new messaging service. On the iPhone it works like SMS, but checks to see if the phone number is registered with Apple (with an iOS 5 device) and if so, sends the message for free. On the iPad and iPod touch, it has only the iOS-to-iOS functionality, no SMS – naturally. Email addresses also work for sending messages, so you don’t need an iPhone registered to send messages. Sounds good, right? It is, until you realize something.

Anyone, anywhere, can now send you what’s essentially text messages without having your phone number. All they need is your email, which many people are far less worried about giving out. You can turn off iMessage completely, but not block specific people. If it’s on, it’s on. It will pop up messages from anyone that has your email address or phone number as if they always had the right to text you. What’s more, making anonymous Apple accounts is not hard, so hello disposable text messaging account. See someone on Facebook that have their email displayed and feel like making their life miserable? Apple has your back! iMessage will instantly tell you if they have an iOS device registered to that email, and if they do, you’re good to go. Spam them down with anything you want without anyone knowing who you are.

Yeah, great job Apple. There’s a reason why IM services have request systems and the ability to block individuals. You just gave every single pervert in the world a way to circumvent all that and either get free access to harassing someone, or forcing them to turn off iMessage and not be able to use it themselves. I thought Tim Cook was running Apple now, but apparently Mark Zuckerberg got the position instead, as this is a privacy fail worthy of Facebook.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.