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Electronic Frontier Foundation DRM Hardware Your Rights Online

Jailbreaking Could Soon Become Illegal Again 239

Diggester writes "Back in July 2010, the United States government approved a few exemptions in a federal law which made jailbreaking/rooting of electronic devices (iPhones and Android devices) legal. The court ruling stated that every three years, the exemptions have to be renewed considering they don't infringe any copyrighted material. The three-year period is due to expire and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is looking to get the exemptions renewed. In order to do so, they have filed a petition which aims at government to declare jailbreaking legal once again. In addition to that, EFF is also asking for a change in the original ruling to include tablet devices." Here's the EFF's own page on the issue.
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Jailbreaking Could Soon Become Illegal Again

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  • Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mvar ( 1386987 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:31PM (#38833613)
    Illegal or not i'll do whatever i want with my phone. I may as well take a hammer and test its screen, oh wait, is that illegal too? Patents, IP, copyright, SOPA, PIPA, lawsuits.. fuck them
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:33PM (#38833629) Journal
    There is something just heartbreakingly pathetic at the notion that the EFF is going to have to petition to get further devices included, distinguished largely by shape from those originally included, rather than it being a given that the device you buy, you own.

    Perversely, I sometimes wonder if the situation would be improved if makers of 'traditional' categories of objects, like cars and appliances and firearms, were to start getting their DRM on and building systems that cryptographically verify every FRU's TPM on start and enter a lockout that can only be cleared by an authorized dealer if any tampering is suspected... Yeah, it'd make those product categories horribly worse; but it might finally give the computer-clueless some idea of just how insane the world of EULAs, DRM, and assorted device lockdown really is...
  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:35PM (#38833655)

    You should care. If you don't, you're just handing the reins over to someone who will fuck you over with force of law.

    And if you don't care, you're half the problem.

  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:36PM (#38833677)

    You care. Because not only is it illegal for you to jailbreak, it is illegal for someone else to help you. As in to provide the tools to do the jailbreaking. So unless you are an uberhacker, you won't be doing much jailbreaking.

  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:37PM (#38833679)

    Because of this:

    - Jailbreaking breaks the security on the iPhone, thus putting the tools in violation of the DMCA
    - The LoC granted an exception to the DMCA for jailbreaking tools in the interest of enabling compatibility.

    It's part of the DMCA, and its complete and total pro-corporate bias. All you jailbreaking Apple fans should watch as Apple fights the exemption renewal. They hate you and want you back in the box, and to never talk about it.

  • Re:Who cares (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:38PM (#38833703)

    [i]Illegal or not i'll do whatever i want with my phone[/i]

    YOU do something that no one will know about is not the problem.

    The problem are the people who are creating the tools. If creation, or possession of the tools becomes illegal, or advocation and instruction on how to use them becomes illegal... then all those websites you can easily "google" today to learn how to do it will VANISH.

    You're welcome to reinvent the wheel in your basement, but more than likely you'll simply saying "fuckit" and move on... which is exactly what the proponents of laws like this want.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:39PM (#38833713)

    Everyone, 'stop calling it jailbreaking', and start calling it a Free Country..

  • by Teun ( 17872 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:40PM (#38833723) Homepage
    On the one hand you can in many jurisdictions legally shoot (take the life of) someone that trespasses your land/ house or car and on the other hand you can be locked up for modifying your own paid for appliance.

    While the outside world has for many years thought the USofA was the most materialistic nation on earth...

  • by CaptainLard ( 1902452 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:41PM (#38833729)
    Well you know what they say, "theres nothing more permanent than a temporary government program/law/tax/etc.". Maybe its due for one such law to work out in favor of the tinkerers...
  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:42PM (#38833747) Journal
    Inconveniently, you'll attempt to do what you want with your phone.

    In the vast majority of cases, unless the owner of the device has considerable spare time and skills far outside the norm, their ability to do what they want with their device depends largely on the public availability of tools for doing so. Those tools are the ones that are most likely to get harder to find should their legal status shift(architecturally, prosecuting individuals who tamper with a GUID-bearing, cellular-modem-connected, user-account-data-correlated, device would actually be comparatively practical, make one mistake in your jailbreak, hit a tripwire or a tilt-bit somewhere, and run the risk that the hardware will phone home and report you; but unlikely to be a good PR move...)

    Against a complex system, you are only as good as your tools, which becomes a much greater limitation if those become contraband.
  • Who's property (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Grindalf ( 1089511 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:47PM (#38833815) Journal
    So if I buy such a device, who's property is it then? This seems to contradict the property laws ...
  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:48PM (#38833827)

    And you're under prior-restraint to keep silent about such methods!

    Don't you love how the DMCA violates the First Amendment for the sake of corporate interests?

  • by nightfire-unique ( 253895 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:55PM (#38833889)

    Even if someone intervenes and solves this legal issue, I don't think that's good enough. Having access to tinker and enhance is the reason these devices exist at all.

    Imagine if 90s PCs were crippled this way. Would Linux, or its multibillion dollar server industry even exist? Apache? Tomcat? Free software can't survive in such a hostile environment. The anti-intellectualism must stop.

    While we do have the ability to call the shots, I suggest that the next GPL revision include an additional clause:

    Redistribution privileges granted by the GPLv4 are revoked from all manufacturers who ship devices that don't provide to the end user an easy, supported method of superuser privilege escalation.

    The good news is, it would have two effects. Smart vendors would fix their devices to comply. The evil ones would fork the kernel and anything else using the new license, and eventually die off without community support.

    Remember. We have the money, and we have the power. Not Hollywood. Hollywood is irrelevant.

  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:57PM (#38833913)

    The crazier the intellectual property laws get the less respect people will have for intellectual property laws. I care quite a bit, but at this point it may be easier to just let "big content" hang themselves.

  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:14PM (#38834071) Homepage Journal

    I'd rather give money to a company that allows me to do what I want than fight the more controlling companies.

    So would I, but in some cases that I've seen, "the more controlling companies" control virtually all of a market.

  • by dnahelicase ( 1594971 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:16PM (#38834087)

    It would be nice if all laws had a sunset scheme..

    If only I had mod points.!

    Why stop at laws? Let's make things like copyright expire too!

  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:23PM (#38834169)

    Especially considering how little of the financial benefit of those laws actually goes to the creator.

    The copyright length is definitely absurd (I'd argue in most cases 2-3 years would allow recovering the investment made into it and the majority of future profits), and removing casual copying of content probably would not result in much of an increase in sales, I agree. But it is still a huge benefit to content creators in one way - it keeps organized, commercial piracy (that is so common in Asian countries) to a minimum in many countries.

    Imagine if there were *no* laws against copying someone else's work - say anyone could legally copy a studio's movie print and show it in their own theater, or copy DVDs, CDs, or books and sell them in a retail store along side the "official" copies, etc. Those copiers don't have to make back the time and money put into creating the work, only the trivial cost of duplicating it. I'd call preventing that a definite financial benefit to the creator...

  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:25PM (#38834199)

    So do I, which is why I still use my N900.

    I'd rather give money to a company that allows me to do what I want than fight the more controlling companies.

    You have no choice. Look at the primary opponent of this: Apple. Look at their results. You cannot simply avoid them, their influence on the market is so stupidly huge that even if you don't buy their product, they can still directly impact your ability to choose other options in the future.

  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fish_in_the_c ( 577259 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:33PM (#38834287)

    Are they immoral? If so disobey them.. if not obey them and work to change them.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_disobedience [wikipedia.org]

    The question is are your action out of Love or Selfishness.
    Out of concern for the common good , or just being a tool.

    If you are actually looking to create a better world around you people will have more respect for your position ,even if they don't agree with it, they are still likely to jail, crucify or otherwise attack you, but your actions will have slow effect towards justice and you might have a chance at changing things because, often times people know when they are wrong even if they don't admit it.

    If your motivations are selfish than it will show too and no-body will listen to you because you aren't just being a cry baby when you put in jail for doing what you knew was illegal.

    That's the real problem with the occupy movement, they don't offer solutions , only complaints, they aren't making any useful demands on what would actually make things better, based on concern for the public good, they are simply saying they don't like the way things are.

    News flash, nobody likes the way things are, the world will never be perfect this side of the grave.

    The only question is , what are you going to do about it!

  • Re:Who cares (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:39PM (#38834337) Homepage Journal

    You will care when you cant access any tools to do it if they are all blocked, and perhaps even be logged that you tried to access the tools, or if you get them and succeed in jail breaking your service goes dark and a warrant is automatically issued .( it can be detected by the carriers if its a cell phone ya know.. )

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:42PM (#38834363) Homepage

    or call it what it is. Modifying my own property.

  • Always the same. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by forkfail ( 228161 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:08PM (#38834581)

    The white hats have to win every single battle.

    The black hats need only win one.

  • by X10 ( 186866 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:37PM (#38834787) Homepage

    Everyone, 'stop calling it jailbreaking', and start calling it a Free Country..

    Apparently, some legislators disagree with you, about your country being a Free Country.

  • by Idbar ( 1034346 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:41PM (#38834815)
    Amazing indeed. A place where a company is legally prosecuted for antitrust, for not allowing to uninstall their browser. Yet other companies attack their customers for trying to uninstall or modify any other part of their system.

    Ah... how nice is being on the side that makes the rules.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @10:27PM (#38835843)

    Until it destroyed the entire entertainment industry because no one could afford to produce any content.

    you act like that would be a bad thing..

    it'd certainly weed out the people doing it only for money and leave the people doing it because it's what they love.

  • How the <REDACTED> did this get modded up??

    Is that what's happening?

    Yes, in countries that meet the criteria specified in the post you responded to, and even quoted: places where there are "*no* [effective] laws against copying somebody else's work" such as many of the Asian nations I've been to (Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia, etc.), and a lot of Africa as well. Also certain parts of South America, though it's slightly less widespread there (in my experience).

    Do you see pirated DVDs and CDs on the shelves at Best Buy?

    Well, they don't have Best Buy in those countries, but everywhere that you can buy a CD or DVD, from a streetside vendor's cart to a chain of media retailers with a presense in most large malls, is selling mostly if not entirely pirated CDs and DVDs, yes.

    Can you tell me which theaters are showing pirated films?

    In those countries? (Almost?) all of them. The hard part would be finding one which *isn't* doing so. The better ones will use copies that were made with something better than a handheld video camera pointed at the screen, but it will still have stupid things like subtitles in a language nobody in the country speaks (not English).

    You'll also find photocopied "books" printed on standard-size paper and bound with plastic rings, CDs/DVDs listing 5 different popular pieces of software plus cracks and/or keygens, and copies of well-known photos or other graphical art (either in printed form or in bulk on a CD).

    The interesting thing about all this copyright-ignored media is that, aside from a few pieces from successful "locals" (literally, fewer than ten per nation), it's produced elsewhere in the world - in the US, Canada, the EU, NZ, or Australia, typically - because in such countries it's feasible for people to actually make a living creating such content.

    Why do the apologists for the ridiculous "intellectual property" laws always have to go to imaginary scenarios to try to make their case?

    What do you have to smoke that you can quote somebody's post, including the conditions under which it is stted to apply and still completely fail to understand that it is not being stated to apply universally? Are you one of those idiot Americans (I'm a US citizen myself, for the record) who thinks that the USA is the entire world, or are you simply completely deluded?

    Hell, there are artists who got their start by distributing their work on bittorrent sites. Without that "illegal copying" those artists would never have gotten a record contract.

    You can't even construct a logical argument out of your own words, never mind when using anybody else's. If the copyright owner is putting the content online for redistribution, it's hardly "illegal copying" anymore. Copyright law allows for the owner of the copyright to distribute their works however they like.

  • by tragedy ( 27079 ) on Friday January 27, 2012 @02:01AM (#38836725)

    Yes, wouldn't it be nice if the DMCA had a sunset provision too? Personally, I think all new laws should have sunset provisions without some sort of actual constitutional amendment-like system to make them permanent. I also think they should need to be read in their entirety, on record in the house and senate before they get to vote on them every time.

  • Re:Who cares (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday January 27, 2012 @03:23AM (#38836953) Journal

    Is that what's happening? Do you see pirated DVDs and CDs on the shelves at Best Buy? Can you tell me which theaters are showing pirated films?

    Uh, yes it is. In countries that don't respect copyright, those things happen. Have you never been out of the US?

VMS must die!