Terrorists Prohibited from Using iTunes

The iTunes Store Terms and Conditions prohibits it:

Notice, as I read this clause not only are terrorists -- or at least those on terrorist watch lists -- prohibited from using iTunes to manufacture WMD, they are also prohibited from even downloading and using iTunes. So all the Al-Qaeda operatives holed up in the Northwest Frontier Provinces of Pakistan, dodging drone attacks while listening to Britney Spears songs downloaded with iTunes are in violation of the terms and conditions, even if they paid for the music!

And you thought being harassed at airports was bad enough.

Posted on February 10, 2010 at 12:39 PM • 35 Comments

Comments

1915bondFebruary 10, 2010 12:48 PM

The wording in Clause 34(g) is standard boilerplate software export jargon under the regs ITAR and EAR. Some people love to try to make something huge out of nothing more than CYA legalese.

DayOwlFebruary 10, 2010 12:59 PM

This brings to mind two possible scenarios:

1. Apple's legal department inserting special teams around the world to flush out and deactivate terrorists bearing iPods (wording deliberate).

2. All airline passengers being required to declare iPods/iPhones/iDevices at security and being directed to a special Apple terrorist detection unit following regular screening.

The comedy potential is endless.

aristos_achaionFebruary 10, 2010 1:07 PM

It seems like pretty standard CYA-conformance language...probably copy-pasted from the same license that comes with other Apple software, maybe including OSX. While I can't imagine terrorists using iTunes to make a WMD, I can certainly see somebody planning one on a Mac, and thus using OSX.

MailmanFebruary 10, 2010 1:08 PM

Apple has it wrong. On the contrary, they should encourage terrorists to use iTunes.
After the CIA tracks down terrorists thanks to Apple's iTunes access logs, the company will be hailed as a corporate American hero and its revenues will go through the roof!

BF SkinnerFebruary 10, 2010 1:17 PM

@aristos_achaion "can't imagine terrorists using iTunes to make a WMD"

Clive? Care to spin a scenario.

kangarooFebruary 10, 2010 1:36 PM

"The wording in Clause 34(g) is standard boilerplate software export jargon under the regs ITAR and EAR. Some people love to try to make something huge out of nothing more than CYA legalese."

Why do people post statements like this thinking it's "clever"??

Yes -- we understand that clearly. As a matter of fact, that's what's funny about these situations -- the absurd juxtaposition of mindless bureaucratism and legalese with actual bomb-throwing life & death issues.

That then acts as an excellent metaphor for the domination of bureaucratic processes over substance in security and other fields of life.

I know -- explaining a joke kills it. But some are dense enough to require it.

MIchael RichardsonFebruary 10, 2010 2:00 PM

@aristos_achaion, I thought that the recent album from was a WMD when deployed by under-age combatants in the homes of respectable Americans.

Or did I mis-understand Tipper Gore's message?

1915bondFebruary 10, 2010 2:12 PM

@kangaroo ....

Hook set...I won't bother wasting any more of my time reeling it in. ;-)

kangarooFebruary 10, 2010 2:43 PM

"I can certainly see somebody planning one on a Mac, and thus using OSX."

"It just works", eh? Maybe Captain Underpants should have used a mac?

SeanFebruary 10, 2010 2:56 PM

I used to work for a small electronics manufacturer, and whenever we shipped a product internationally we were required to declare it as "components that could be used in the construction of a nuclear device" (or something to that effect). I think it's the same situation - it's legal jargon someone put in to really make sure nobody could be legally justified if they found loopholes in some other restriction.

EdT.February 10, 2010 3:50 PM

IIRC, the license for the old Newton SDK included verbiage that prohibited you from using the software for, among other things, "controlling a nuclear power plant and/or an aircraft."

Don't think it said any thing about them gol-durned terrrorrrorrrorristas, however.

~EdT.

ScottFebruary 10, 2010 4:10 PM

I think this is because subjecting terrorists to prosecution by RIAA would be considered inhumane treatment beyond all reckoning. These guys are living in the dirt and eating lint on a good day - where are they going to come up with a $300,000 settlement for listening to pirated Elvis Presley mp3s?

PeterFebruary 10, 2010 5:16 PM

This is standard boilerplate from the chief intimidators at OFAC. They scared some of our VPs, so we had to include the same baloney in the software we sell, as well as hard removal of the evil axis from any and all drop down lists. Including releasing service packs for obsoleted/sunsetted software.

http://www.ustreas.gov/ofac

Stefan W.February 10, 2010 6:31 PM

A very good idea from apple. Now, if I wear one on an airport, I can directly join my plane without further inspections, since the iPod proves: I'm not a terrorist, because terrorists are not alllowed to wear them.

AlreadyonthelistFebruary 10, 2010 7:36 PM

So kangaroo, will my itunes purchases get me off the list I'm on? Should I send that to the FBI as proof I'm not a terrorist, just a person who opposed torture under the last administration?
; )

Curt SampsonFebruary 10, 2010 11:57 PM

It's interesting to compare our reactions to this now and ten or fifteen years ago. I remember such clauses being around in the mid-to-late-90s. I wonder if it's a good thing that our sensitivity to these sorts of things is increasing.

Clive RobinsonFebruary 11, 2010 12:20 AM

@ BF Skinner,

'@aristos_achaion "can't imagine terrorists using iTunes to make a WMD"'

Hmm now let me think...

If it's "Cyber-WMD" (I claim copyright if nobody else has ;)

Apple had a problem in the past with their batteries, and as we know a lot of small high capacity batteries can be caused to overheat (and some have caught fire in the past).

We also know that Apple subcontracted out part of their production and some bright spark subverted the process and pre-loaded virus software on some of their media players.

Sooo....

Imagine some Cyber-Terrorist, uploads a new virus into apples production system so that in Easter 2012 all the batteries in Apple Media players in the US over heat and set fire to the "seat of the pants" of Americas Young & Trendies"...

Or... The terrorists uplaod a "mind-virus" song that turns American youth first into mindless zombies and then into sensless automata that go out and do unspeakable things to society as "cult warriors".

No it couldn't happen realy could it?

Unless of course they find a way to make the records play backwards ;)
But reality is not going to stop a legal type using it as a defense argument 8)

@ Stefan W.,

"A very good idea from apple. Now, if I wear one on an airport, I can directly join my plane without further inspections, since the iPod proves: I'm not a terrorist, because terrorists are not alllowed to wear them."

Saddly there is a degree of truth in your statment.

If people remember back to the inocent Brazilian Electrician Jean Charles de Menezes who had eight shots fired at close range to his head in the London Underground (Metro) by the Met Police under the control of Commander Cressida Dick (since promoted for her work http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/...

It was said at the time by Met Police "spin doctors" he was suspicious because he had "wires hanging out of his pocket".

A sub story started about Jean Charles not hearing the police warning (in reality none was given) due to his wearing ear pieces for a media player. Somebody had a line about the police would not have been suspicious if the wires were white (the then colour of the Apple Media Player ear piece wires).

I made a comment on Bruces Blog at the time along the lines of "talk about Product Placment" aluding to the fact that only Apple wearers would be safe from the trigger happy types of CO/SO19 (who just a few days later made some quite "gung ho" statments infront of a journo of "Did you see those r** ***ds s**t them selves when they got the marksman's measels"). Some of whom went on to make quite ludicrous statments in court about what led up to Jean Charles being shot and what subsiquently happened, statments that many at the time regarded as being attempts at "perverting the course of justice"...

Oh and in more recent times Cressida Dick has overseen the "Met Police's handeling of MP's Expense Scandle" which has seen only three MP's out of some 300 "accused of fiddeling" actually charged.

Frank BitterlichFebruary 11, 2010 5:35 AM

The reason for this clause is very simple: iTunes contains encryption technology. So this piece of legal boilerplate is necessary, whether or not it makes sense.

You will find that on any U.S. export product that contains encryption software.

GreenSquirrelFebruary 11, 2010 6:10 AM

@Frank Bitterlich

Frank, that is not a simple reason. Its the first part of a reason.

There is, really, no real reason for this.

matt aFebruary 11, 2010 7:36 AM

Its a super-secret CIA anti-terrorist plan. Name the single most successful organization in recent history to uncover anonymous, "below the radar" criminals and bring them to "justice"? The RIAA of course! The jihaditunists download just 1 Michael Jackson song and the RIAA goes after them like rabid dogs to either force the itunerrorists to give up their extremist views or be subjected to lawsuits, huge fines and $100ks of lawyer fees! Quite ingenious if do say so...

John CampbellFebruary 11, 2010 7:59 AM

Awww, c'mon, even the RIAA and MPAA attack dogs pale to insignificance against ...

... New York City's Parking Violations Bureau.

If Osama had had an un-paid parking ticket from any of the 5 boroughs within New York City he'd've been found and tortured by continued threats of high penalties _long_ ago.

BF SkinnerFebruary 11, 2010 8:14 AM

@Clive "Or... The terrorists uplaod a "mind-virus" song that turns American youth first into mindless zombies and then into sensless automata that go out and do unspeakable things to society as "cult warriors".

Some would say that the rock and roll arc already did this...race records -> Elvis -> Beatles -> British invasion -> The Osmands -> Disco (meh!) -> Punk -> Hanna Montanna -> American (and other national) Idol(s).

Those fiendish, insidioius terrorists who have been plotting our destruction since before they were born! We ain't got a chance especially since I opened an email called Stinky cheese.

JohnFebruary 11, 2010 9:43 AM

And Jack Bauer is going to use an iPad... what do we learn here? That if you don't buy Apple, the terrorists win.

Nick PFebruary 11, 2010 11:58 AM

@ Clive

Or a slightly more realistic scenario. Terrorists start downloading and sharing iTunes music. The songs picked aren't important: the songs shared embed steganographic information. Apple tracks which songs are used, which accounts are tied to them and their geographical location. With Apple's help, a plan to detonate a WMD is averted. It could happen... on the big screen with product placement. Apple is a real hero in that arena. ;)

Nick LancasterFebruary 11, 2010 12:54 PM

But ... but ... you could put al-Qaeda training videos on your iPod! You could smuggle data by using it as a thumb drive! You could smash the glass on the iPod Touch and use it as a weapon!

*sigh*

anonFebruary 11, 2010 6:13 PM

Makes me wonder if the exploding iPods aren't an anti-terror backdoor forced on Apple by US agencies but which have been randomly triggered by accident a few times by non-terrorist users.

Nick PFebruary 11, 2010 10:08 PM

@ Nick Lancaster

Well, sure, but that's an iPod. We're talking about iTunes. As you pointed out, iPod's are extremely useful for covert purposes. I know a few guys who use modded iPods when they can't have regular computers around. This post, though, was about using the iTunes store as a terrorist weapon. It's a bit less useful than an iPod for a terrorist, unless they are funded by selling Arabian Nights audio tracks. ;)

eurolollerFebruary 12, 2010 6:44 AM

American Drama.

Egocentic Nation of Jackasses
with Jack ass lobbyism, jackass lergislature, jackass "patriotism" (aka racism) jackass only-2-party fake
of democracy... etc

no other nation on our planet, puts silly clauses like these into their footprints...
//
or let me phrase it like this:
in no other country a company could get sued, or be hold accountable
for exporting a fucking transistor
which could be used in a doomsday devcie.
//
..unless it need to be sold to american customers of course.

Oh, and pleas please.. dont put your child into the microwave, that device is not designed to dry hair...

..etc

america would be the clown nation of the world, if it not was so dangerous to the world at the same time...

oh, i use a mac to type these lines..
i expect to end up on one of those no fly lists soon, because i have a beard and i am allergic to stupidity which makes me a potential something probably :)

wjcarpenterFebruary 15, 2010 2:33 PM

Something I found striking when I first noticed it and have continued to wonder about since.... There is a clause in Sun's Java license that says this:

"You acknowledge that Licensed Software is not designed or intended for use in the design, construction, operation or maintenance of any nuclear facility."

Here's an example license agreement, but I noticed it probably 5-6 years ago.

http://java.sun.com/javase/6/jdk-6u18-license.txt

AVeeFebruary 16, 2010 8:33 AM

I think law firms put useless clauses in there as a kind of copy protection. Just to make sure you can sue anyone who illegally copies a license agreement. License agreement piracy must be stopped!

As for the Java license, that clause was there at least in Java 1.2 (released in 1998). I've always wandered what Sun would do to me if I used Java illegally in the design of my nuclear power plant.

Ron EvettFebruary 22, 2010 11:06 AM

"So this piece of legal boilerplate is necessary, whether or not it makes sense." That comment made my morning.

BTW - The government has got a lot of little lists. Unlike some of the terrorist watch lists, the Treasury SDL and Commerce DPL are, of course, public lists. So the dutiful Agreer to iTunes Terms could, theoretically, download and search the lists to make sure his name wasn't on one. And they say the government isn't focusing on Job Creation!

easter 2012June 17, 2011 7:02 AM

"Imagine some Cyber-Terrorist, uploads a new virus into apples production system so that in Easter 2012 all the batteries in Apple Media players in the US over heat and set fire to the "seat of the pants" of Americas Young & Trendies"..."

This is kind of a exaggeration, isn't it? No way this is going to happen and if you think it will you got too large of a imagination.

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