PSA: Microsoft not targeting unlocked WP7 devices

The tin-foil hat brigade came out in force yesterday, with forum users claiming Microsoft was targeting user unlocked Windows Phone 7 devices.

Users at xdadevelopers began reporting around 7am that their devices, which had been unlocked using the infamous ChevronWP7 tool, had begun mysteriously re-locking themselves. Making matters worse, users were reportedly seeing a message which read: ''[application name] has been revoked by Microsoft. Please uninstall it.''

Microsoft enthusiast and ChevronWP7 co-creator Rafael Rivera threw cold water on growing paranoia just hours later, saying in a blog post that unlocked WP7 devices were not being targeted.

The re-lock, he explained, was the result of the way ChevronWP7 used a particular certificate to trick the phone into believing it was a developer device.

''The phone is reverting back as a result of a periodic check. Simply put, the phone rings Microsoft and asks “Hey, am I supposed to be unlocked?”. If Microsoft responds with a “No, what are you thinking?”, the phone apologizes and initiates a lock down,'' he said.

If an unsigned application is running at the time of the check, the aforementioned error message appears, he said. Unsigned applications do not need to be removed from a re-locked phone.

Rivera went on to say the ChevronWP7 team had been aware of a check-in period of around two weeks, but had not looked into it any further.

Earlier this month, Mr Rivera, along with co-developers Chris Walsh and Long Zheng said they had been contacted by Microsoft and asked to work with the software giant to foster an ''official'' Windows Phone homebrew scene. As a result, the ChevronWP7 tool, which had allowed any user to side load applications that would not be permitted in the official Marketplace, was immediately discontinued. Within hours, enterprising users had discovered a way to reactivate the tool and a number of homebrew apps have appeared since.

Image Credit: wpcentral

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27 Comments

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I just hope when it's calling home..it's not sending any private user information along with finding out if it's supposed to be unlocked or not.

But that's the chance you take when you purchase a phone that keeps in contact with it's creator. I honestly don't believe Microsoft when they claim there is no user information collected when it's software does periodic checks on it's equipment.

texasghost said,
I just hope when it's calling home..it's not sending any private user information along with finding out if it's supposed to be unlocked or not.

But that's the chance you take when you purchase a phone that keeps in contact with it's creator. I honestly don't believe Microsoft when they claim there is no user information collected when it's software does periodic checks on it's equipment.

Nearly every single major software creator collects analytical data about their products and usage, and for Windows Phone it's also a necessity to prevent piracy. Microsoft has no interest and no need for private data being sent back - and they wouldn't even try it seeing as someone would sniff it out and they'd get sued to the high heavens. Any data they collect is totally anonymous, and just chucked together in big pools of data with everything else.

~Johnny said,

Nearly every single major software creator collects analytical data about their products and usage, and for Windows Phone it's also a necessity to prevent piracy. Microsoft has no interest and no need for private data being sent back - and they wouldn't even try it seeing as someone would sniff it out and they'd get sued to the high heavens. Any data they collect is totally anonymous, and just chucked together in big pools of data with everything else.

I am not happy that my phone "call home" without my consent. There are people who have no problem with such behaviour and they will be able to buy an "as new" HD7 that is going on Ebay today, yes it is my one.

Fritzly said,

I am not happy that my phone "call home" without my consent. There are people who have no problem with such behaviour and they will be able to buy an "as new" HD7 that is going on Ebay today, yes it is my one.

You do realize that every device "calls home" at some point for some reason right? Mine "called home" yesterday and alerted me to an available update and this was an android phone.

Fritzly said,
I am not happy that my phone "call home" without my consent. There are people who have no problem with such behaviour and they will be able to buy an "as new" HD7 that is going on Ebay today, yes it is my one.

When you click that little "I agree" checkbox when the phone first boots is your way of consenting.
If you read license agreement you will see that.

Also, this is how companies make their products much better over future iterations.
If you read the summaries of the aggregate data microsoft collected on their desktop OS, you will find there is a lot companies can learn. Windows 7 wouldn't be where it is today without the Customer Experience Improvement program.

But, I suppose privacy nuts would prefer inferior products, as long as it meant no one knew what they were doing.

Fritzly said,

I am not happy that my phone "call home" without my consent. There are people who have no problem with such behaviour and they will be able to buy an "as new" HD7 that is going on Ebay today, yes it is my one.

I highly doubt you ever owned an HD7 and if you did, maybe the poor T-Mobile service made you hate it. T-Mobile has the worst service, and makes at&t look like a God. Glad I have at&t and my Samsung Focus.

Also it doesn't call home without your consent, in their TOS, I bet you'll find something about calling home and if you agree to the TOS then you allow it to call home. Androids call home, iPhones call home, Blackberries call home, etc.. This isn't new.

Electric Jolt said,

I highly doubt you ever owned an HD7 and if you did, maybe the poor T-Mobile service made you hate it. T-Mobile has the worst service, and makes at&t look like a God. Glad I have at&t and my Samsung Focus.

Also it doesn't call home without your consent, in their TOS, I bet you'll find something about calling home and if you agree to the TOS then you allow it to call home. Androids call home, iPhones call home, Blackberries call home, etc.. This isn't new.

Its only new (and bad) when its Microsoft.

Electric Jolt said,

I highly doubt you ever owned an HD7 and if you did, maybe the poor T-Mobile service made you hate it. T-Mobile has the worst service, and makes at&t look like a God. Glad I have at&t and my Samsung Focus.

Also it doesn't call home without your consent, in their TOS, I bet you'll find something about calling home and if you agree to the TOS then you allow it to call home. Androids call home, iPhones call home, Blackberries call home, etc.. This isn't new.

I would like to congratulate you for your post: a great monument to ignorance and arrogance. Keep enjoying your AT&T service..... and its great rate in consumer satisfaction.

Besides what does make you think that I use my HD7 with T-Mobile only? I never bought a Carrier crippled phone and this is the exact reason why I did not buy a Focus: the device is only available "Unlocked" and not "SIM Free"...... for now.

Similis cum similibus........

Fritzly said,
... I never bought a Carrier crippled phone and this is the exact reason why I did not buy a Focus: the device is only available "Unlocked" and not "SIM Free"...... for now.
...

What makes the Focus a crippled phone? I'd rather have the memory card slot than an unlocked phone at this time. Please explain.

As for the phone home stuff. Not a big deal at the moment. When they start sending my name, address, account #, Live id/pass, and phone number in clear text to anyone I'll hop on the sue happy bandwagon and never have to pay for wireless again when I'm done. If it is anonymous and generic in the form of "is an update available" and "am I a developer device" who cares. It's the same thing all the other fancy phones do.

~Johnny said,

Nearly every single major software creator collects analytical data about their products and usage, and for Windows Phone it's also a necessity to prevent piracy. Microsoft has no interest and no need for private data being sent back - and they wouldn't even try it seeing as someone would sniff it out and they'd get sued to the high heavens. Any data they collect is totally anonymous, and just chucked together in big pools of data with everything else.

Are you sure about that? They turned off blackberries in India because they weren't able to intercept usage and data...and if I'm not mistaken...the Bush monitoring of cell calls and mesages in the U.S. is still going on...and it's protected under the terrorist watch. But who is to say they are ONLY monitoring people under scrutiny?

Guarantee you...if Microsoft isn't collecting any usage data and giving it to other people..then the Government is doing it for them.

texasghost said,

Are you sure about that? They turned off blackberries in India because they weren't able to intercept usage and data...and if I'm not mistaken...the Bush monitoring of cell calls and mesages in the U.S. is still going on...and it's protected under the terrorist watch. But who is to say they are ONLY monitoring people under scrutiny?

Guarantee you...if Microsoft isn't collecting any usage data and giving it to other people..then the Government is doing it for them.


India turned off Blackberry messaging because the servers were not located in India, and therefore, as you said, they couldn't get at the server.

Your comment has nothing to do with Microsoft.

rfirth said,

India turned off Blackberry messaging because the servers were not located in India, and therefore, as you said, they couldn't get at the server.

Your comment has nothing to do with Microsoft.

Guarantee you...if Microsoft isn't collecting any usage data and giving it to other people..then the Government is doing it for them.

rfirth said,

India turned off Blackberry messaging because the servers were not located in India, and therefore, as you said, they couldn't get at the server.

Your comment has nothing to do with Microsoft.


It wasn't india, it was UAE. Please get your facts right before bashing.

I unlocked my phone, and i don't mind if MS does this. Every phone in the world is tracked, so why is this so shocking to you?

Fritzly said,
Interesting: WP7 autonomously "calls home"......

interesting...think i will stay away from the phone..

Fritzly said,
Interesting: WP7 autonomously "calls home"......

If you've registered your phone as a developer phone, it checks every now and then to make sure you still have a valid developer account. This is shocking how?

Fritzly said,
Interesting: WP7 autonomously "calls home"......

Don't be so quick to jump the gun here, it's only dev flagged phones that check every now and then not every phone sold.

"Earlier this month, Mr Rivera, along with co-developers Chris Walsh and Long Zheng said they had been contacted by Microsoft and asked to work with the software giant to foster an ''official'' Windows Phone homebrew scene."

It's too bad Apple isn't going this route, and would rather keep their walls up.

MS has no interest in going after people who unlock their phones, if anything I'd say they'd welcome the extra feedback they get by seeing what sorta apps and features people try to get at when they unlock their devices. From MS's thinking once they add those back in then the need to unlock drops anyways.