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Apple blocks Beeper Mini due to privacy concerns

Beeper Mini Android app

Earlier this week, Beeper introduced Beeper Mini, a new Android app designed exclusively for sending and receiving blue bubble messages with friends using iPhones. It is said that the company arrived at this solution by ingeniously reverse-engineering Apple’s protocol, saying that it connects directly to Apple’s service without any middleman.

The app suddenly stopped working on Friday afternoon as Apple blocked the service. The company said it took steps to protect its users by preventing tactics that use false credentials to get access to iMessage. The company’s move aligns with its longstanding reluctance to extend iMessage to the Android platform.

Regarding the matter, Apple senior PR manager Nadine Haija said:

At Apple, we build our products and services with industry-leading privacy and security technologies designed to give users control of their data and keep personal information safe. 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.

In response to Apple’s move, Beeper’s founder Eric Migicovsky said to The Verge that he simply didn’t understand why Apple would block his app and added that he’d be happy to share Beeper’s code with Apple for a security review so that it could be sure of Beeper’s security practices.

He also emphasized the fact that the service allowed Apple users to send encrypted messages to Android users, who now only rely on unsecured SMS.

Regarding the matter, Beeper Founder Eric Migicovsky said:

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?

He confirmed that Beeper Cloud is still working, and his team has some ideas left to make Beeper Mini work again. Beyond that, he hopes the court of public opinion will eventually convince Apple to play nice anyway.

Apple’s decision to make iMessage service exclusive to iPhone users is still a concern. It currently has plans to implement the RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging standard, which might compel Apple to open iMessage for RCS compatibility and enable cross-device communication. We should get more information regarding the development in the coming weeks.

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