Copyright Officials Sanction 'Jailbreaking' Smartphones

July 27, 2010
It's now legal to hack smartphones.

U.S. copyright law was modified on July 26 to make it legal to hack smartphones such as the iPhone to switch telecom service providers or install applications without Apple's approval.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) revision came despite opposition from Apple, which argued that allowing iPhones to be hacked will open handsets to security holes, computer viruses, and hardware damage.

AT&T is the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the United States and Monday's move would allow what is known as "jailbreaking," or unlocking smartphones exclusively bound to specific telecom service providers.

"The Copyright Office recognizes that the primary purpose of the locks on cell phones is to bind customers to their existing networks, rather than to protect copyrights," said Jennifer Granick of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an Internet rights group that fought for the change.

Revisions to the act also allow tampering with electronic book readers to enable text-to-speech features that read stories aloud.

It was also made legal to bypass anti-copying technology on DVDs in the cases of documentaries, non-commercial works, and videos used for educational purposes by colleges.

"We are thrilled to have helped free jailbreakers, unlockers and vidders from this law's overbroad reach," Granick said.

"By granting all of EFF's applications, the Copyright Office and Librarian of Congress have taken three important steps today to mitigate some of the harms caused by the DMCA."

Apple steadfastly opposes breaching of safeguards built into iPhones and is still free to enforce terms of service agreed to by buyers.

Apple argued in a letter to the Copyright Office, which is in the Library of Congress, that allowing iPhones to be hacked will destroy a "chain of trust" the company has with customers.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

Popular Sponsored Recommendations

Gain a competitive edge with real-world lessons on private 5G networks

Nov. 16, 2023
The use of private networks in manufacturing applications is rapidly growing. In this paper, we present valuable insights and lessons learned from the field with the goal of enhancing...

Lean Manufacturing in the Age of the Industrial Internet

Oct. 24, 2023
Read how advanced MES capabilities can help you improve your labor utilization, reduce WIP, and optimize your production. Download the white paper today.

3D Printing a More Efficient Factory Floor

Nov. 16, 2023
Today’s additive manufacturing platforms make it simple to print a wide range of high-performing industrial parts as soon as possible and right where you need them — unlocking...

Modern Edge Computing Accelerates Smart Manufacturing Initiatives for Discrete Manufacturers

Oct. 22, 2023
Discover how Edge Computing platforms are a requisite for discrete manufacturers to solve production challenges, accelerate digitalization, and establish a reliable infrastructure...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!