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I had an idea of an iPhone app but I'm not sure if the methods are entirely legal, for that reason I thought id come here to ask.

Where I live in Canada it can get pretty cold so I had the idea of making the iPhone heat up slightly(to a safe level) so the user could heat up their hands and to prevent the phone from shutting down to the cold temperatures(a common problem in the winter).

To do this I had the idea of running a cryptocurrency miner on the device. For those who don't know, cryptocurrency mining can be a CPU intensive process and can cause it to heat up, but the process can also generate cryptocurrency that can be exchanged for other currencies(CAD, USD).

Would it be illegal to use this method to heat up the phone if the user is not told how the phone it heated up as it generates an income that they would not receive?

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The most important thing to realize is that such an App will probably never be accepted into the Apple App and/or iTunes store if you submit it without the mining disclosure in the end user's TOS.

Apple reserves the right to accept or decline any App in the App store; they will evaluate your App after you submit it, and when they find the crypto mining aspects and see that they are not clearly stipulated in the user's TOS, they will probably not accept your App. Apple will find that you attempted to conceal an App "feature" that involves user security, i.e. the mining software will communicate in secret from the iPhone to a mining hub or account under your control without the user's knowledge.

Even if your App did make it into the store, chances are good someone will see their iPhone connect with the mining software and investigate. Even if you do disclose the miner in the TOS, Apple can decide to remove your App from the store. Read the current news for other iPhone Apps that attempted to mine crypto with or without the user's consent.

  • I understand this part of it, but what my question is if it is legal or not. I understand that Apple will most likely not accept this app, but is doing this illegal in any way? – Matthew N Apr 3 '18 at 19:40
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    Yes, an App user can sue you for security and privacy violations if your TOS does not disclose that fact that your App mines crypto and communicates with a crypto account or hub without the user knowing it. – BlueDogRanch Apr 4 '18 at 1:24
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    I would consider it being theft, but because of the wear and tear it causes on the device people will go after you for damages as well. – gnasher729 Apr 21 '18 at 17:55

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