Safari Data Bug Could Mean Huge Phone Bills for Some

iphone-3g-money-screen_w300.jpgAn Estonian website claimed Tuesday to have broken news of a major bug in iPhone’s Safari app that could put unsuspecting iPhone users at risk of running up huge bills with their cellular service providers in certain cases.

The danger appears related to Safari’s failure to close connections with web servers that run Motion JPEG to stream video over the Internet. In the case where an iPhone user uses Safari to browse, for example, to the webcam on the island of Keri and then closes Safari in favor of another app or simply returns to the iPhone’s home screen, data continues to stream over the phone’s 3G or EDGE connection from the Motion JPEG-running server.

The Estonian report claims to have been able to run up over 740MB of data transfer in a little over an hour in this manner and that the only way to get Safari to properly sever the data link is to browse to another site before closing the app.

The bug would appear to affect only those iPhone users who do not pay for ‘unlimited data’ as part of their standard service plan, and thus poses no risk to at&t subscribers using their phones in the US, or to many European users with similar plans in their home countries.

With the rise of limited data plans in some countries, however, and in the case of users traveling with iPhones overseas using limited International Data plans, this could cause a real problem.

A request for comment from Apple PR remained unanswered at press time.

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Lonnie Lazar

Lonnie Lazar is a writer-musician-web designer-attorney. He writes about Apple for Cult of Mac and Mac|Life, and about VoIP and telecommunications for Voxilla. Follow Lonnie on Twitter @LonnieLazar, join the Cult of Mac on Facebook, and find Lonnie's photos on Flickr.

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