Australian Consumer Regulator Sues Apple Over 'Error 53' iPhone Shutdowns

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging that it violated Australian consumer law when a software update it issued last year bricked some users' iPhones.

    The lawsuit relates to the infamous "error 53" message reported back in February 2016 that began greeting some users after they updated their devices. It later emerged that the devices bricked by the message had been repaired by third-party technicians.

    Apple initially said the message was a protective security feature designed to protect consumers' devices from the installation of fraudulent Touch ID components, but later admitted the error was a mistake and apologized for it, offering instructions online explaining how to fix affected devices.

    The Australian regulator that filed the federal lawsuit is seeking financial penalties from Apple. Penalties of up to A$1.1million ($829,000) per breach could be assessed, according to The Wall Street Journal, but it would be up to the court to define how many breaches occurred. Apple has yet to respond to request for comment.

    Rod Sims, chairman of the ACCC, said the lawsuit challenges Apple's entire policy of requiring customers to pay for repairs to defective components if their device was previously serviced by a third party.
    Australian Consumer Law requires that when a product is purchased, there's a guarantee that it will be "reasonably fit" for its intended purpose. As the ACCC sees it, the error 53 message rendered customers' iPhones and iPads unusable, therefore they should be entitled to a remedy from Apple under the law.

    Apple faced a class action lawsuit in the U.S. over the error message last year, after some users accused it of false advertising and complained of data loss. Apple reimbursed the affected customers with working devices, and the company's motion to dismiss the case was successful after a district judge ruled that plaintiffs lacked evidence to back up their claims.

    Article Link: Australian Consumer Regulator Sues Apple Over 'Error 53' iPhone Shutdowns
  2. fermat-au macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2009
    I am proud to live in a country that will stand up for consumers against the largest corporations on Earth.
  3. WarDialer macrumors member


    Nov 22, 2015
    San Jose, CA
    The problem happened when people got their phone fixed by a third-party, not Apple, and a software check detected the third-party part and was rightfully suspicious since the phone hardware and its fingerprint sensor (used for Apple Pay e.g. access to your bank account) was not an expected part/ID/config whatever.


    Apple is *the* most sued company on earth. Good job Australia, all other problems must be solved in your country to be suing Apple over a SOFTWARE doodad that was fixed to make people stop bitching their hacked up phones were popping a dialog.
  4. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    Here in the UK we have some of the best consumer protection laws on the planet - but I'm sorry, I'm partly with Apple on this one.

    Killing the phones completely was probably a mistake (I'm going to hazard a guess that they forgot to remove a check in an iOS build and accidentally bricked them) - but I do not want third party fingerprint sensors to work. This makes the whole thing far less secure.
  5. Teddy Napoleon macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2017
    Good for you Aussie. I hope they BBQ their botties.
  6. bLackjackj macrumors member

    Nov 14, 2016
    The ACCC is standing up for our rights as consumers! The ACCC will stand up against big and small companies, you may wish to conduct some minor research first.
  7. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    "It's fair to say we haven't observed similar behavior by other manufacturers," Mr. Sims said in an interview, adding that it is often cheaper for customers to seek repairs from third-party shops. "Apple seems to have a particular way of doing things."

    I would have never guessed that about Apple! Never.
  8. Defender2010 macrumors 68030


    Jun 6, 2010
    I side with Apple. If you use 3rd party you may as well fix it yourself. You reap what you sow.
  9. wubsylol macrumors 6502

    Nov 6, 2014
    Right, but they're suing for killing the phones, not throwing up a warning/error box saying "your phone may be insecure".
  10. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    And the cases where no 3rd party repair happened? Still side with the PR spin?
  11. PhiLLoW macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2014
    And they already offer a workaround online to reactivate your phone - so it's not an issue anymore.
  12. WiiDsmKR69 macrumors regular


    Jul 8, 2013
    Totally agree! Especially since they've recently updated their repair policy detailing they will in fact fix devices under warranty if third party repairs haven't caused the warranty claim in the first place.
  13. Nimrad macrumors 6502

    Jul 28, 2010
    While I do agree that's a good thing in general I feel I'm missing something. Are they trying to say all phones should be bug-free from bugs that could render the phone useless even though this get fixed?
  14. WatchFromAfar macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2017
    While you make good points I have to feel you're being a little disingenuous. There is a world of difference between "popping a dialog" and leaving you with a non-functional device which you have not only paid for originally but also paid again to have it repaired.
  15. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    The finger print sensor would become untrusted in two ways: a. A nefarious foreign government tries to hack into your phone. b. A clumsy screen repair. I'd assume case b outnumbers case a by 10,000 to one or more. However, the security guy deciding to brick the phone probably was focused on preventing attacks against the phone's security and never thought of the screen repair case. So the bricking was done intentionally without considering that it was a bad mistake.

    Nowadays the finger print sensor will just not work. Which stops foreign government spies just as well, and doesn't turn the phone into a brick - just a phone without finger print sensor.
  16. BvizioN macrumors 601


    Mar 16, 2012
    Manchester, UK
    Or maybe not so much for customers but rather filling up the pockets of lawyers and bunch of other people. Silly, lol.
  17. 0815 macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2010
    here and there but not over there
    Maybe instead of bricking the phone there should have been a constant warning that unidentified/unsecure components were detected. Finger print sensor should have been disabled ... but overall I am with Apple here. If people let third party companies mess with the secure internals of the phone they at least need to be warned about it and all secure features that rely on those components need to be disabled. This is in the interest of the consumers - and if it would have been abused by third party repair parties to crack the phones and bypass the security, everyone would have screamed bloody Apple is insecure and does not protect us -- Apple just can't do it right for some.
  18. BvizioN macrumors 601


    Mar 16, 2012
    Manchester, UK
    When it starts to freeze in hell.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 6, 2017 ---
    Of course you would sue Apple again if your data was compromised due to this entire touch ID drama thing, but hey.... that's what consumers are entitle to do right? Sue and be proud of it,
  19. entropys macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2007
    Brisbane, Australia
    I suspect you are more familiar with what Rod Sims says the ACCC does, what everyone thinks it should do, and not what it actually does. It often tends to threaten the big boys, go for high profile cases that get a lot of attention, generally don't amount to anything in the end, but by happy coincidence tend to raise the ACCC's profile and ensures the ACCC gets ongoing funding. I suspect this will turn out one of those considering Error 53 doesn't brick phones anymore anyway. You should bear in mind April is the time Treasury starts preparing next year's federal budget. Sims is a master trough snouter.
  20. Kabeyun macrumors 68000


    Mar 27, 2004
    Eastern USA
    Apple also would've been sued if they'd had no protection against installing Nefarious Bob's Authentic Finger Sensor instead of their own secure one, and folks' found bank accounts suddenly empty.

    Sure, they might've built in a warning dialogue or something, but this was probably an OS code error which they later addressed, for crying out loud.

    Congrats, Australia. You've fully embraced the American capitalism model.
  21. WatchFromAfar, Apr 6, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017

    WatchFromAfar macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2017
    You've missed my point entirely, read it again, I agreed with most of the original posters points. Who's saying people would sue again if Apple hadn't been so aggressive in bricking devises? Here's the thing, if you own something you have the choice to run it insecure if you chose to, you have the choice to be vulnerable to hacks if you wish to. You're choice, you reap what you sow, Apple stepping in and saying "no more iPhone for you" is a step way too far.
  22. vmachiel macrumors 68000

    Feb 15, 2011
    Really? Do you know why the error occurred? It was for good security reasons. I'm with Apple on this one.
  23. wubsylol macrumors 6502

    Nov 6, 2014
    Yes, but it still happened. Recourse doesn't make the original incident go away, hence the lawsuit to demonstrate (to Apple, and other businesses) that this behaviour is unacceptable under Australian Consumer Law.
  24. dantroline macrumors regular


    Oct 28, 2016
    I agree. The thing is when a consumer buys a phone, they buy the physical device and it is reasonably supposed to keep doing what it is meant to do while its internal parts remain intact (not wet, cooked or short circuited). The consumer does not consider the one off purchase from Apple to be a temporary license to use the device which Apple might revoke at any time, so Apple is not at liberty to disable features on the phone just because the user decides to do something odd like repair a cracked screen or change a battery or something without taking it to Apple first, since often times Apple refuses to honor its insurance commitments and charges an arm and a leg to get things fixed.
  25. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Imagine a car manufacturer stalls the car's engine if it is detected that the brakes are not functional. You would be really really happy if that happened (not at first when your car doesn't run, but later when you find out the car would have taken you straight into the nearest brick wall). And then it turns that some tyre company manages to break the sensor that checks the brakes while they put up new tyres.

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