ACCC Investigates Apple's Error 53 For Potential Consumer Law Breach

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has launched an investigation into whether Apple's Error 53 is in breach of consumer laws.

When the error code hit, effectively bricking iPhones, users initially thought it must be a bug. It was quickly revealed that the error is actually a security measure for the Touch ID fingerprint recognition technology. The error is activated when the phone is worked on by a third-party repairer using non-standard techniques or components.

Apple says the feature is protecting consumers from unauthorised access to features such as Apple Pay. iPhone users however, have say notice about the feature was insufficient and lawsuits have begun. Repairers are speaking out also, saying it is part of a plan by Apple to monopolise market for phone repairs.

"We are currently considering whether the reports are likely to raise concerns under the Competition and Consumer Act," said a spokesperson for the ACCC in a statement.

"In particular the ACCC is examining whether this practice contravenes the consumer guarantee and false and misleading representations provisions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). The ACCC would also be concerned about any practices which restrict competition, including through access to parts or data."

Apple have been contacted for comment on the ACCC statement, responding with links to the ID Touch and Error 53 support pages on its website instead.

This story originally appeared on Gizmodo Australia


    Would I prefer my data to be more secure if it means someone else cant repair the thing they smashed for cheaper? Yup.

      Would I prefer to be told that my expensive device would be bricked after a simple repair from a third party vendor before I bought it? Yup.

      Do i have to let only Dell to fix my computer that contains personal files? Nope.

      Will the xbox warranty be void if they find the case has been opened? Yes.

      Will ms brick it just for that fact?

      Last edited 16/02/16 5:07 pm

        I'd argue that if you go to a third party repairer, you're out of your warranty period anyway. This seems to be more like a method of making you buy a new iPhone rather than fixing your old one.

          An example: A broken screen is never covered within the warranty period and you live 200km to the nearest approved Apple repairer. A same day fix can be tempting. That low-level "tampering" does not bypass any of Apple's systems and should not brick a phone.

      If they were only worried about protecting customer data, one option would have been to just disable the touch sensor and require the user to authenticate using an alternative means (e.g. Apple ID password, or other device password).

      Remember: this change was pushed out months after some of these repairs had been made. If it had been in place before the repairs were done, then it would have been quite different.

    I'd love to see a reality TV show with the ACCC

    It'll be like COPS, except with criminals of a different sort *Glares at Steam*


        Nah, screw Steam. Money grubbing a$$holes.

        I tolerated it when we had parity with USD but enough is enough.

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