Egyptian iPhones have GPS disabled

You think your government is backwards and behind the times (and corrupt!)?  Well, it probably is, but maybe not as much as Egypt’s.  The NYTimes today covers the fact that Egyptian iPhones don’t have use of the GPS chip.  Apple modified its phone without any public acknowledgment. 

Mr. Gabr described in his e-mail message what he considered to be the faulty rationale for the policy in Egypt.

“From a technical point of view, this is totally pointless because Google Maps works flawlessly here — you can even get a clear snap (with accurate coordinates) of places you’re not supposed to see.”

As an aside, he said that months ago he “bought an American iPhone 3G via eBay” with full functionality. “Cheaper, earlier and without compromise,” he wrote, signing his note with a self-satisfied smiley-face.

Although, not a big deal in itself, the question has to be asked how far handset makers will go in order to appease governments.  There is a slippery slope.  If you scroll down a bit, you’ll get the summery laid out nicely:

“We may not know what the maximum impact of openness is,” he said. “But we do know that in the most closed places the worst things happen.”

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