Apple censorship code for China crashed iPhone apps

12 July, 2018, 18:21 | Author: Sammy Rose
  • Stripped Taiwanese Flag

He was initially skeptical, but was able to verify the claim and - by a somewhat tortuous process - work out what was causing it.

"Basically Apple added some code to iOS with the goal that phones in China wouldn't display a Taiwanese flag", Wardle said, "and there was a bug in that code".

A recently discovered iOS bug caused iPhones to crash after the word "Taiwan" was typed in.

Messages sent featuring the Taiwanese flag emoji (pictured) instead show a "missing" emoji.

Here's Apple's support page if you want more information on the new security feature.

The bug was discovered by security researcher and developer Patrick Wardle of Digita Security.

Apple released iOS 11.4.1 earlier this week which fixed a couple of security bugs, while introducing a new USB Restricted Mode. And given the relationship China has with Taiwan, the company might be appeasing the Chinese government with its flag blockade.

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While Apple did not confirm that the censorship code to hide the Taiwanese flag was done to placate the Chinese government, it acknowledged the bug and assigned a Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures index of CVE-2018-4290 to it, and thanked Wardle for finding it.

The filter, apparently, was to block the flag and name of Taiwan from users in the heavily-censored mainland China. While Apple hasn't commented on the case, this isn't the first time it has caved to China's requests.

This is not the first time United States company has made diplomatic changes to its devices on behalf of the Chinese government.

Apple has reportedly catered to the Chinese government before, moving Chinese Apple users' data to servers within the country, as well as removing some VPNs from the App Store in China. Wardle also privately reported the bug to Apple.

Smiley faces, love hearts, thumbs up and other cartoon icons - rather than words - are the preferred method of communication by teenagers, who are considered the worst offenders regarding the decline in grammar and punctuation. As of the latest 11.4.1 update, users won't crash their phones simply by typing "Taiwan".

More than half of British adults are not confident with their command of spelling and grammar, the study also found.

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