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Customers angry at Apple for breaking their hacked iPhones with the company's latest update now have a class-action lawsuit to call their own.
On Friday, a California lawyer filed suit against the consumer-technology company over the iPhone's September 27 upgrade, which bundled a critical security patch with code that disabled phones which had been hacked to accept third-party applications or modified to use other cellular carriers.
"Cell phone network providers are using various types of software locks in order to control customer access to the 'bootloader' programs on cellphones and the operating system programs embedded inside cell phones," the complaint (PDF) stated, noting that the U.S. Register of Copyrights has specifically allowed users to bypass such locks to use their phones on another provider's network.
In the past, updates have been used to shut down hacked or modified devices on the networks of other service providers. DirecTV used an update to disable cable boxes that had been modified to get the satellite-TV provider's service for free. The countermeasure, however, merely blocked the cable box -- which the company leases to the users -- from using the service, while Apple's update completely disabled consumer electronic devices which belong to its customers.
Hardware hackers worldwide worked over the summer to crack the iPhone's protection to either use the device on carriers besides AT&T or load third-party software onto the system. Apple had warned customers prior to releasing the update, which upgrades the iPhone to version 1.1.1, that the software patch could disable any phone that had been modified.