Tag: jailbreaking

US wants to make jailbreaking illegal again

Jailbreaking phones might earn you some real jail time in the glorious corporate ruled United States.

In 2010, the United Stated government approved few exemptions in a federal law which made jailbreaking/rooting of electronic devices legal. Every three years the exemptions have to be renewed by the Library of Congress to make sure that the jailbreaks don’t infringe any copyrighted material.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is looking to get the exemptions renewed and has filed a petition which aims at government to declare jailbreaking legal once again.

However because technology has moved on a bit since 2010, the EFF wants to change the original ruling to include tablet devices.

But making jailbreaking legal caught the likes of Apple, who love keeping its customers locked in  on the hop. The industry had time to bribe, er, lobby its tame senators to stop it happening and this time we doubt they will make the same mistake.

The EFF is fairly convinced it will have a rough ride and is asking people to send comments into the Copyright Office to support it. 

EFF wants to make jailbreaking legal

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has asked the US Copyright Office to make it legal to jailbreak consumer electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, and video game consoles.

It wants to see gaining root access to a device removed from being prohibited by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The request follows the EFF court victory in July last year which made the jailbreaking of Apple’s iPhone and iOS platform legal. Now, the EFF wants to make jailbreaking legal on all devices.

According to a statement from EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann, technology has evolved over the last three years, so it’s important to expand these exemptions to cover the real-world uses of smartphones, tablets, video game consoles, DVDs, and video downloads.

She said if the US were to protect the jailbreaking of all consumer electronic devices, the rest of the industry would be subject to the same ruling that Apple already adheres to.

Under the rules it is legal to jailbreak the iPhone, but Apple still has the right to combat jailbreakers with its company actions and warranty policies. It means that you can’t go to prison for jailbreaking, but Cupertino can refuse you customer support and get sniffy when it mentions your name in polite company.

Hofmann said that DMCA is supposed to block copyright infringement. But instead it can be misused to threaten creators, innovators, and consumers, discouraging them from making full and fair use of their own property.

EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry added that hobbyists and tinkerers who want to modify their phones or video game consoles to run software programs of their choice deserve protection under the law. 

Microsoft strong-armed into adding WP7 homebrew

The developers behind the ChevronWP7 jailbreaking tool have discontinued it after striking a deal with Microsoft to integrate homebrewing options directly into the operating system itself.

The ChevronWP7 developers, which include Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng, were contacted by Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone 7 at Microsoft about the possibility of bringing some of the jailbreak features into the main OS.

The developers decided to discontinue the tool in order to “fast-track” discussions with Microsoft on how homebrewing can become a pivotal aspect of Windows Phone 7.

It was only last week that Windows Phone 7 was jailbroken with the ChevronWP7 unlocking tool, less than a month after the operating system’s initial release. 

With Microsoft now offering “to open the Windows Phone 7 platform for broader access to developers and users”, it appears that the walled garden approach it was previously taking may be losing ground.

The unlocking has allowed a number of opportunities for development within the homebrewing community, including a new Windows Phone 7 custom ringtone manager that the ChevronWP7 team have been working on.

It remains to be seen what kinds of homebrewing options will be added to the OS and if ChevronWP7 will resurface again. With some reports indicating a major update to Windows Phone 7 in January 2011, some of those features may come sooner than expected.

Apple to bypass the carriers with custom SIM

In a cunning plan to kill two birds with one stone, the Fruity peddler of broken iPhones, Apple is planning to embed a custom, writeable SIM chip in future iPhones.

According to GigaOm , Apple will build a custom SIM module which means that Apple could flog iPhones directly to users with little or no direct carrier involvement.

The SIM can be reconfigured to work on a different carrier by uploading a small file with carrier-specific data to the module’s flash memory.

Apparently Jobs’ Mob is working with SIM card manufacturer Gemalto to create the custom SIM chip that would be embedded in the iPhone itself. Instead of popping physical SIM cards in and out of an iPhone.

As far as the user is concerned it would be handy in the European market, where many carriers compete for customers and users frequently roam outside of their local coverage area.

All the user would need to do is phone Apple and update the internal SIM to work on a different carrier’s network.

The files could be uploaded via a Dock connector or over the air via the App Store or directly from a carrier.

Apple could more easily offer iPhones directly to consumers via retail or online, allowing them to choose any available carrier at the time of purchase—which could then be easily encoded into the SIM by Apple or the customer when connecting to iTunes.

Buyers could take the devices to a carrier of choice for activation.

But the downside of this is that it would mean that the Apple blessed SIM would be hardwired into the phone. It would make it much harder to jailbreak and mean that you could only run the phone on Apple blessed telcos. 

Apple still says no to jailbreaking iPhones

It is now officially legal to jailbreak your phone in the US, after a move by the Library of Congress to revise the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but Apple is still staunchly against the idea, claiming it will brick your jailbroken phone because it loves you, wants you to be happy, and wants to save the world from bad men.

Apple previously claimed that jailbreaking a phone was illegal under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which it hoped would stop its customers installing different versions of its OS, running unsupported applications, switching to a network it doesn’t have a large dollar deal with, or switching to the rival OS, Google’s Android. It’s illegal and you’ll go to jail, it claimed.

And now it’s not, but that’s not stopping the fruity party line. It might not be illegal now, but Apple still thinks it’s immoral and the jailbreaking sinners must repent now or face eternal damnation. You see, souls are at risk here, not just mobile phones, and Apple is looking out for us all.

As part of its efforts to protect us all it issued the following statement to Cult of Mac in response to the legalisation of jailbreaking:

“Apple’s goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience. As we’ve said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhones as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably.”

So you may not be going to prison, but you certainly also won’t be going back to your local Apple store to get your iPhone 4 fixed if a jailbreaking attempt results in a bricked phone. Apple has previously sent out software updates that actually deliberately brick jailbroken phones, making them completely inoperable. In other works, if you don’t do it Apple’s way, they will break what you have paid for, and their defence is that you have violated their warranty, which is now not supported by the legal stance they had previously taken.

But Apple is doing this for a good cause. It previously claimed that unlocking an iPhone should be illegal, because it aids hackers, criminal gangs, drug lords, and terrorists. Eh, what? Apparently Apple thinks jailbreaking iPhones gives people potential access to mobile phone masts, which is a possible terrorist threat, while altering the chip identification number allows for anonymous calls, which is clearly the work of drug dealers. Only criminals could ever want an unlocked phone. It’s called jailbreaking for a reason, right?

In other words: leaving Apple’s precious walled garden leads you into sin and temptation. Do not bite the apple the serpent offers you. Wait – the Apple? There’s clearly something the Cupertino-based company isn’t telling us.

In stark contrast, Apple’s rival, Google, which has been gaining momentum with its Android operating system lately, is not against jailbreaking of its phones and has actually sold unlocked phones itself. But clearly it is evil for doing so and must also be supporting terrorists and drug dealers.

Apple users can now avail of unofficial app stores like Cydia or finally use rival Google’s free apps, without fear of Judge Jobs calling the cops, but it still violates your warranty, which, let’s face it, is the Law as far as Apple is concerned. It’s their way or the highway, folks. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act was only ever something they would abide by when it supported their policies. Typical.