Apple used DMCA to take down a tweet, then backtracked and put the tweet back on
The tweet contained an iPhone encryption key that could reverse engineer a certain processor on the smartphone
Apple recently asked Twitter to pull down a tweet that was posted by an independent iPhone security researcher facing quite a backlash. This particular tweet, posted by someone called Siguza (who is a security researcher focusing on iOS), appeared to contain an encryption key that "could be used to reverse engineer the Secure Enclave Processor". This processor is what handles data encryption and stores sensitive information in an iPhone.
iPhone11,8 17C5053a sepi 9f974f1788e615700fec73006cc2e6b533b0c6c2b8cf653bdbd347bc1897bdd66b11815f036e94c951250c4dda916c00— Siguza (@s1guza) December 8, 2019
Two days after the tweet was posted, a law firm that has represented Apple in the past sent a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Takedown Notice to Twitter asking them to take it down.
Twitter complied and pulled it down. However, now it is back up and Siguza mentioned in another tweet that the DMCA notice was 'retracted'.
Apple confirmed that they had sent the DMCA takedown request and had retracted it, but Twitter had already complied by then and had taken the tweet down. Apple then asked Twitter to put the tweet back on.
Obviously, this has lead to security researchers accusing Apple of abusing the DMCA to take down a tweet. But things don't end here. While this was happening on Twitter, Reddit also received several DMCA takedown requests for posts on r/jailbreak.
r/jailbreak is a popular subreddit where iPhone security researchers and hackers discuss techniques to jailbreak Apple devices.
However, one of the Reddit moderators wrote - "Admins have not reached out to us in regards to these removals. We have no idea who is submitting these copyright claims." And so far, no has been able to verify who sent the takedown requests to Reddit. But there seems to be a 'vague' agreement about where it all might have come from.
"We don't even know in whose name these new takedowns have been filed, much less by whom. Unlike Twitter, Reddit doesn't seem to grant you (immediate) access to the actual DMCA complaint," Siguza tweeted.
Both iPhone security researchers and jailbreakers are viewing these takedowns as Apple's attempts to clamp down on their communities.
In September this year, two iPhone security researchers released hacking tools that could remove restrictions and jailbreak iOS devices as recent as the iPhone X (2017) followed by another jailbreak for devices running Apple's latest iOS 13. For now, neither of these hacks work on recent Apple devices released this year and last year, but these jailbreaks came after years of there being no publically available jailbreaks for up-to-date iPhones.
"They just completely lost control of the battle (Jailbreaking) on iPhone X and older," said Pwn20wnd to Motherboard in on online chat. Pwn20wnd is an iPhone security researcher who has claimed that his posts on Reddit have been taken down.
"So they are trying to pick up a legal fight and waste our time, thus money / resources," he added.