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Vodafone sensitive about jailbreaking discussions on their eForum

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I found a thread on the Vodafone UK eForum today discussing jailbreaking.  The usual mis-information was contained (posted by members of the public) with a couple of Vodafone representatives providing information about handset warranty and insurance cover when jailbroken.  I decided to add to the discussion and made the following post:

I’ve been using a Vodafone sim in an iPhone since March 2009. The handset was originally locked to O2 (until about two weeks ago when it was officially unlocked). I overcame the sim lock by jailbreaking my handset.

There is, unfortunately, a lot of hype or mis-information regarding jailbreaking and it “damaging” handsets leaving people with “paper weights”. The reality is it’s a very simple process to undertake, I’ve done it many times on many handsets. Apple aren’t like Nokia. They make phones much better and put in several things to make them more idiot proof. If you change a Nokia’s product ID then update it’s firmware then there strong risks. Jailbreak an iPhone and it doesn’t work out, you can easily put the iPhone into recovery mode and have iTunes restore it.

I would recommend anyone interested in jailbreaking do their research and do it properly. The stark reality is you open your iPhone up to it’s proper potential rather than the restrictive nature Apple set it to. If you look at patent applications that Apple submits with relation to the iPhone, you’ll frequently notice that the developers jailbreak their handsets (known jailbreak applications visible on screenshots etc). It was rumoured a while ago that even Steve Jobs jailbreaks his own since he finds it too restrictive; however I suspect that’s more hearsay than anything else.

I have been writing iPhone jailbreak articles and information for pretty much as long as I’ve owned a handset. I’ve encountered and overcome many obstacles people have brought to me regarding them (in many cases not a result of jailbreaking). I keenly follow developers and key people on the scene (through twitter, blogs etc). There is a wealth of knowledge out there, but with all these things a number of scaremongerers.

If you brick your iPhone (never seen it) and you have insurance, the insurer wouldn’t know you’d jailbroken it anyway. There are no visual signs on a bricked handset – it’s bricked! The question you’d have to ask yourself is whether or not you’d choose to commit fraud when the operator has told you in this thread that they don’t cover jailbroken handsets and you make a claim against an insurance policy knowing this.

If people have genuine concerns and proper questions regaring jailbreaking, I’ll happily answer them. I have helped out on this forum sporadically with iPhone queries before the iPhone even came to Vodafone.

I felt that this was fairly innocent but I imagine that since I linked to this site in the post that someone has taken a disliking and considered the content to be an attempt to grab traffic.  There are of course those that also have a vehmonant dislike for jailbreaking and will moan regardless of any content on the subject.

I have since contacted the Vodafone UK Press Office (on Twitter) and they are going to look into why the post was deleted in the first place.  There have been other people respond to the thread since I posted it (and it’s subsequent deletion).  Some positively, but one user (a typical narrow minded individual) who seems hell bent of telling people jailbreaking is evil.  I was going to leave the thread until the press office came back to me, but decided instead to follow it up with this:

It was my post that’s been deleted. I’ve spoken to the press office regarding it (since I got in touch with them via Twitter) and I am confident that they’ll look into it properly. I’ll gladly accept if the post was against ToS; however having looked at the ToS I don’t believe it contravened them. This said, I’ll await and respect the decision that is made once it’s looked into.

In an attempt to avoid a second deletion, I offer these points:

Vodafone don’t want you to jailbreak. Apple (on the record) don’t want you to jailbreak. The reason is simple – if you do so, they lose the ability to regulate and control what you (can) put on your iPhone and I’ll be completely honest and say, if you install apps willy nilly, without thinking what they do to or with your iPhone, there are applications out there that could cause you some damage; however, if you intelligently look into things, do your research and carry out informed actions the benefits of being able to use your own property in the manner to which you choose to, it is fantastic.

I think it’s encouraging that Vodafone haven’t deleted this whole thread and any other created as soon as the words jailbreaking or unlocking are featured. They have stated, for the record, that they will not uphold a warranty on a jailbroken handset. Their insurers have stated, for the record, that any handset that is jailbroken is outside of their provided care. That’s fine – this is also their electronic medium for interacting with their customers and they hold the right to regulate content here too.

You as individuals make your own decisions. Some people on the forum will always be narrow minded and won’t be able to think about the bigger picture. No one forces anyone to jailbreak – anyone doing so does it with the right investigation carried out or if they don’t, could find themselves in a position where they aren’t sure where to turn for support.

Life is about making decisions – in my opinion, jailbreaking is entirely safe. I have a wealth of experience with it as do a great number of other people. No one person can know everything there is to about it and there are very active communities helping one another with this interesting topic. It’s not my intention to spam, but instead to counter those that don’t know what they are talking about who spend their time rubbishing developments that have made a difference to so many users positively. (Well over 2 million worldwide).

I’m not seeking help – I’m offering my opinion to open minded people who want reassurance that it’s not a doom and gloom experience. I’m looking to encourage those that want to increase their satisfaction of using their iPhone. I won’t link to resources or media on the matter – Google can open many doors for you if you are interested in finding out about jailbreaking. Just make sure you read multiple sources so that you are well informed.

(I’ll second the comments regarding the security hole. That’s an application people could install to be able to access the file system of their iPhone wirelessly. It used a default password and if you left it as it, it’s an obvious hole. If you do that, you deserve to be compromised!)

I realise it’ll take time for the press office to come back to me, but in the meantime at least all those asking me on Twitter what’s gone on can see what the latest is.

EDIT: (17:24 25/01/10) Vodafone Press Office have been in touch.  Someone from the eForum team is going to discuss it with me shortly.  (Not sure if to expect phone call or an email).

EDIT: (20:58 25/01/10) Vodafone eForum team have responded:

I’ve been asked to contact you by xxxxx from my team, as you’d stated you’d like an explanation of why we’d issued a warning.

It’s simply because of you linking to your own site, and our terms and conditions state that you can’t use the eForum to distribute or transmit any content which is in our opinion objectionable. We object to you promoting your own website, which you’ve done in various places on your profile. This was also your first post on the eForum. It’s known forum behaviour for spammers or advertisers not to have posted before, and simply join to advertise.

I’ve seen you’ve since posted further information about jailbreaking, which is ok, but please don’t link to any sites, ask anyone to contact you directly for further information, or provide search terms for people to search for and then find your site

If they’d read the post properly they would have seen that I wasn’t attempting to get traffic on this site but genuinely offer help. How many spammers do you know would take the time to write something like I put together and how hard would it have been for them to edit out the link and send me a Private Message to indicate why they’d done what they’d done.

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