Hackers claim Siri port to iPhone 4 avoids copyright infringement

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Hackers have managed to successfully port Apple's Siri personal assistant to a device other than the iPhone 4S, and they claim to have done it without violating any copyright laws.



A tool called Spire from developer "chpwn" can enable iPhone 4 users to run Apple's personal assistant application, Siri, on their handset. Apple still requires authorization for use of Siri, so users must work around this by inserting information from an iPhone 4S and using a proxy server address.



"Spire uses a new method to obtain the files necessary for Siri, so it doesn't have the copyright issues encountered by previous attempts," they wrote. "Similarly, rather than directing all of your traffic through a specific proxy server (and the associated privacy issues), Spire allows you to specify your own proxy server."



The Siri hack was made possible because of a new build of iOS 5.0.1 that Apple quietly released for the iPhone 4S, but quickly pulled. Hackers subsequently discovered that the update allowed a user to collect the files needed for a Siri port without having to break Apple's copyright.



Hackers had previously cracked Siri and offered the ability to port the voice recognition software to the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch. But that previous method relied on tools that may have broken Apple's copyrighted works.



Those methods also required users to rely on a fixed proxy server in order to have Siri communicate with Apple's own servers. But this raised privacy concerns, as a user's voice data could be unknowingly intercepted by a third party.



But now the files come directly from Apple's servers, which has led hackers like "chpwn" to believe they are not infringing on the company's copyright. And users can set up their own proxy server to avoid potential security issues.



Bringing Siri to an iPhone 4 requires that users "jailbreak" their device, a term used to describe hacking iOS to allow users to run unauthorized code. Jailbreaking is a potentially warranty voiding process that allows greater customization and freedom, with new features like themes and applications not approved by Apple, but it can also lead to security issues for less experienced users.







Users can set up their own proxy if they already own an iPhone 4S and want to have Siri functionality on another iOS device, or if they have a friend with an iPhone 4S that would share their authentication tokens. The hacker responsible for the Spire tool said they believe some for-pay service will begin to crop up online, allowing users to rent space on a Siri proxy server attached to an iPhone 4S device.



Another possibility, they said, is hackers might find a way to replace Siri entirely, and instead rely on something like Google Chrome's speech recognition application programming interface.



"Spire is far from perfect, but at least at this point in time, it's the best that I can do," they said. "Maybe in the future someone will find a way to evade the authorization requirement, but from my position here that's unlikely."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Hackers have managed to successfully port Apple's Siri personal assistant to a device other than the iPhone 4S, and they claim to have done it without violating any copyright laws. ...



    But, they are probably violating at least a half a dozen other laws. Theft of services comes to mind.
  • Reply 2 of 43
    "without violating any copyright laws"



    There's legal, and then there's ethical. This fails the second test. I wish these hackers would put their skills to better use.
  • Reply 3 of 43
    bwikbwik Posts: 551member
    Face it, everything is about the cash, now. Apple is a mega corporation. It's no longer about fostering something magic. I expect that more and more to come from places outside apple. Right now, a 19 year old kid is in his parents' garage hooking together some electronics.
  • Reply 4 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    But, they are probably violating at least a half a dozen other laws. Theft of services comes to mind.



    Agreed entirely. It'd be one thing if they were claiming they weren't infringing anything and Siri was possible device-side (on a related note, I can't WAIT for the day that this is the case?), but since they're still using Apple's servers for it?
  • Reply 5 of 43
    I think the Siri hacking is harmless.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bwik View Post


    Face it, everything is about the cash, now. Apple is a mega corporation. It's no longer about fostering something magic. I expect that more and more to come from places outside apple. Right now, a 19 year old kid is in his parents' garage hooking together some electronics.



    I'm not sure what you think has changed. Steve Jobs was always building a business with Apple. 'Fostering something magic[al]' has always been about creating an amazing product which people were willing to buy.
  • Reply 6 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    But, they are probably violating at least a half a dozen other laws. Theft of services comes to mind.



    Exactly.

    I'm pretty sure that the legal stuff (although I've never read it), states that Apple only authorises Siri on one device and that they get to chose what device. Spoofing a device is still almost certainly not legal within the contract.



    Since jail breaking a device is illegal if your intent is illegal (and stealing services is illegal), then you are technically breaking federal law to jailbreak your device to use Siri.



    In the real world nothing will likely happen to you for doing this of course, but I am personally very disappointed with the fact that most other websites are just straight out reporting this to be "legal." It's almost certainly not for this and a variety of other reasons.



    For me this whole area falls under that "overdone sense of entitlement" thing. People today seem to think that they have some kind of "right" to just take whatever the f*ck they want, and not only that, they want to think it's morally okay now. Steal if you want, hack if you want, but don't try to make out like it's morally okay. It isn't.
  • Reply 7 of 43
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Yeah, hackers are at the top of my list of people I trust for legal opinions, particularly self serving ones.
  • Reply 8 of 43
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    But, they are probably violating at least a half a dozen other laws. Theft of services comes to mind.



    Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak's first business was selling Black Boxes, which allowed people to make free long distance phone calls on Ma Bell's network.
  • Reply 9 of 43
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Exactly.

    I'm pretty sure that the legal stuff (although I've never read it), states that Apple only authorises Siri on one device and that they get to chose what device. Spoofing a device is still almost certainly not legal within the contract.



    Since jail breaking a device is illegal if your intent is illegal (and stealing services is illegal), then you are technically breaking federal law to jailbreak your device to use Siri.



    In the real world nothing will likely happen to you for doing this of course, but I am personally very disappointed with the fact that most other websites are just straight out reporting this to be "legal." It's almost certainly not for this and a variety of other reasons.



    For me this whole area falls under that "overdone sense of entitlement" thing. People today seem to think that they have some kind of "right" to just take whatever the f*ck they want, and not only that, they want to think it's morally okay now. Steal if you want, hack if you want, but don't try to make out like it's morally okay. It isn't.



    Just curious, what federal law? Also curious, what contract, as when I buy an iPhone I have no contract with Apple.
  • Reply 10 of 43
    ssquirrelssquirrel Posts: 1,196member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak's first business was selling Black Boxes, which allowed people to make free long distance phone calls on Ma Bell's network.



    Blue boxes actually. Black boxes are what airplanes have, altho they are usually orange or some other easy top spot color





    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_box





    There are also links for black and red boxes (receiving calls and generating coin sounds) as well. By the early 90s the coin sound could be produced on a microcassette recorder as well, as seen in the movie Hackers. With everything being digital now, plus how few pay phones there are anymore, many of the old phreaking tools are extinct
  • Reply 11 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak's first business was selling Black Boxes, which allowed people to make free long distance phone calls on Ma Bell's network.



    ...and then they actually did something with their talents, and changed the world.



    The second part is more important, and not dependent on the first quasi-ethical-at-best behavior.
  • Reply 12 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    Just curious, what federal law? Also curious, what contract, as when I buy an iPhone I have no contract with Apple.



    You have to agree to an EULA when activating the device.



    Also the common sense test says that Siri is a service that runs on Apple's service, said service isn't directly monetized nor is it a charitable gift, and said service is therefore monetized indirectly through the purchase of a 4S. If you are hacking your iPhone 4 to run Siri, you are stealing a service, just the same as stealing cable.



    Edit: Also, the federal law in question would be copyright infringement. Jailbreaking WOULD be copyright infringement, except it has an exception granted to it from the DMCA, because it is for personal use. However, the exception doesn't apply if you are jailbreaking for an illegal purpose, like piracy.
  • Reply 13 of 43
    Technically, using Siri without permission is an unauthorized access to a network. This would break US Federal Law. It is punishable by at least 5 years in federal prison.



    Realize that using someone's WiFi without permission also breaks this law even if the WiFi is open and without a password. And people have been convicted and imprisoned for this.



    Since Siri gets your Apple ID and phone number and phone information, this can easily be determined to be authorized and sent to the FBI.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    ...as it doesn't interfere with my stuff, I don't care.
  • Reply 15 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    But, they are probably violating at least a half a dozen other laws. Theft of services comes to mind.



    Not to mention that the claims of not violating copyright could be erroneous. Especially if they are using the same interface or even code. Then there's trademark, patents etc.



    In fact its so much more complicated that I would say that it likely isn't legal or ethical.
  • Reply 16 of 43
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,296member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    Also curious, what contract, as when I buy an iPhone I have no contract with Apple.



    Actually you do if you use pretty much any Apple hardware or software product. You may not have noticed you agreed to their terms of service during the activation process.



    http://www.apple.com/legal/sla/
  • Reply 17 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post


    ...as it doesn't interfere with my stuff, I don't care.



    20 million people with an iPhone 4 decide to use this hack and it slows down Apple's servers, would you still be rooting for it then?
  • Reply 18 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    20 million people with an iPhone 4 decide to use this hack and it slows down Apple's servers, would you still be rooting for it then?



    I don't think 20 million people are going to go through this process.



    And where did you come up with that number? You think there are 20 million jailbroken iPhone 4s out there? Besides, even if a large number of people did start using Siri on older devices, Apple would work hard to expand accordingly or block the older devices through some new means. They're not going to allow something like that to mess up service for everyone else. That, and I expect they've already got plans in place to expand Siri far beyond what we see in it today.
  • Reply 19 of 43
    apple can just make a move, to the jailbreak phones, by making this 'siri' addition totally useless and not removable.



    you can hear them screaming now. 'how can you interfere with my illegal move". sort of reminds me of 'ows' except when these miscreants get caught they are really look for a new career.
  • Reply 20 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    Just curious, what federal law? Also curious, what contract, as when I buy an iPhone I have no contract with Apple.



    Huh? Didn't you see that Terms of Service you agreed to as you activated the phone?
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