Apple and Beeper Face Off Over iMessage-on-Android App
Beeper Mini — an app that successfully implemented iMessage on Android phones — stopped working after just a few days, but has now started working again. Apple effectively claimed responsibility for the outage over the weekend, saying: "We took steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials in order to gain access to iMessage. These techniques posed significant risks to user security and privacy, including the potential for metadata exposure and enabling unwanted messages, spam, and phishing attacks. We will continue to make updates in the future to protect our users." Beeper's CEO Eric Migicovsky responded: "if Apple truly cares about the privacy and security of their own iPhone users, why would they stop a service that enables their own users to now send encrypted messages to Android users, rather than using unsecure SMS?" The Beeper team has now delivered a promised update to restore service, although it requires an Apple ID account and is tied to the user's email address instead of phone number as before. The app will be free for the time being, instead of the $2/fee (after free trial) originally announced. These developments potentially set up a game of cat-and-mouse that could make Beeper Mini service intermittent. Apple would seem to have the upper hand, being in control of the iMessage servers. However Beeper has been very transparent about how Beeper Mini works, and insists that Apple's options are limited, short of restructuring the iMessage protocol and requiring all Apple devices to receive an update to continue using the messaging service.
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