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  • Will The US Congress Criminalize Jailbreaking?



    It sounds like a far fetched scenario, but this weekend on NPR, a panel of guests discussed the growing presence of lobbyists from emerging industries in Washington DC. Among the powerhouse movers and shakers seen to be multiplying at a rapid pace are representatives of the mobile technology and communications industries.

    With the arrival of the iPad and a veritable plethora of tablets to the consumer electronics market in the coming months, an equally large number of potential networking partners who would provide video and publishing content to those devices are increasingly concerned with the prevalence of iPhone (and soon-to-be iPad) jailbreaking. As a result, some are speculating that the mobile industry's lobby will be so substantial by the end of 2010 that congressional support could be gathered to "criminalize jailbreaking."

    While the idea of being punished by a court of law for jailbreaking an iPhone, iPod, or iPad sounds borderline insane, could it actually happen? In the big picture, it would seem highly unlikely that Apple would back such a lobby, given that Apple already maintains that jailbreaking is an "illegal" act. Apple, after all, tells the Copyright Office that jailbreaking represents a violation of copyright laws. "Current jailbreak techniques now in widespread use [utilizes] unauthorized modification to the copyrighted bootloader and OS, resulting in infringement of the copyright in those programs," is Apple's official position.

    The prospect of criminalizing jailbreaking, indeed, seems like a long shot. On the other hand, a new gusto behind the enforcement of current copyright laws could seriously impact the way pirates, hackers, and jailbreakers are potentially "punished." The on-air radio panelists noted that someone [a hacker, jailbreaker, etc.] will need to be "made an example of" to prove that the tech world means business when it comes to laying the smack down on jailbreakers.

    Sabre rattling? Sounds like nothing more to me.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Will The US Congress Criminalize Jailbreaking? started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 105 Comments
    1. iPhone3G[S]'s Avatar
      iPhone3G[S] -
      Quote Originally Posted by n00neimp0rtant View Post
      What about thousands of other devices that consumers like to modify?
      Like my car

      This would be like telling me I can't work on my own car.
    1. iBwizzle's Avatar
      iBwizzle -
      Nooooooo... I'm relying on the iPod Touch XL to motivate hackers and programmer to release another jailbreak. The new boot-rom on my 3Gs must be cracked. Hence, I can continue to live my perfect life.

      ___________________________
      iPhone - Jailbreak = Dumbphone?
    1. extremzocker's Avatar
      extremzocker -
      Quote Originally Posted by billmilo View Post
      If it does happen, I will take my iPhone and break it into 100 pieces.
      nooo, give it to me. or charity. but rather me
    1. Frostbite's Avatar
      Frostbite -
      Quote Originally Posted by 1shuttle1 View Post
      I wonder how many politicians kids have jailbroken iphones. I bet the number is high. These kids are probably used to getting what they want. A cool jailbroken iphone is probably one of those things. Pass a law that makes their own kids criminals. That would be funny.
      I was laughing really hard got to this point and pretty much fell out of my seat
    1. Fhadso's Avatar
      Fhadso -
      Speeding
      Littering
      Smoking and drinking(under the legal ages)
      Smoking marijuana
      Not signaling before you turn
      Sex under the age of 18(16 in some states)

      These things are all illegal, yet people do them every day, and nothing can be done to stop them.

      I bought /my/ iPhone with /my/ money and /I/ own it. Thus, /I/ can do whatever the **** I want to with it.
    1. lolcats1's Avatar
      lolcats1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by battlecrushr View Post
      no it wont happen
      careful bro. the US government has a history of bending to what industry wants. i don't even have to give examples, you know what I'm talking about.

      cannabis is illegal, because of some wack paper industry nonesense. special interests groups always win out. i hope it becomes illegal, then we'll be some badass underground society. and there will be jailbroken ipod dealers, imagine what a booming business that would be!
    1. adsonjustin's Avatar
      adsonjustin -
      that's stupid...
    1. lolcats1's Avatar
      lolcats1 -
      even with HIV

      i am an unstoppable force
    1. stash459's Avatar
      stash459 -
      enuff said!!!! (So what are they gonna do, hunt all of us down and check our iphones/ipods one by one?? so true!!!! we pay spend our money key word people (our money) so we do what ever we please to do with our (idevices) so they could shut the hell up congress!!!!!!!! feel me playboy!!!!
    1. Maarten16's Avatar
      Maarten16 -
      HAHAHAHA!!!
      ehh... NO!
    1. iMister's Avatar
      iMister -
      Quote Originally Posted by confucious View Post
      What has pirating got to do with JailBreaking?
      Pirating IS illegal. anyone who does it is a thief.
      JailBreaking is NOT illegal and hopefully will remain so.
      Quote Originally Posted by confucious View Post
      There is plenty Apple can do to stop pirating - and I wish they would, without stopping JailBreaking.
      Why don't Apple try and stop the thieves and leave the rest of us alone?
      So if they ever do make it illegal here in the UK, to jailbreak, would you stop?


      Quote Originally Posted by lolcats1 View Post
      careful bro. the US government has a history of bending to what industry wants. i don't even have to give examples, you know what I'm talking about.

      cannabis is illegal, because of some wack paper industry nonesense. special interests groups always win out. i hope it becomes illegal, then we'll be some badass underground society. and there will be jailbroken ipod dealers, imagine what a booming business that would be!
    1. lolcats1's Avatar
      lolcats1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by stash459 View Post
      we pay spend our money key word people (our money) so we do what ever we please
      yeah, just like when i spend my own money on my own weed! and then the cops take it! that's horrible! we should sue the cops for that!
    1. Effenpig!'s Avatar
      Effenpig! -
      "even with HIV

      i am an unstoppable force"

      I definitely will not post in the same thread as you anymore, cause I heard you can catch the HIV that way....
    1. lolcats1's Avatar
      lolcats1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Effenpig! View Post
      "even with HIV

      i am an unstoppable force"

      I definitely will not post in the same thread as you anymore, cause I heard you can catch the HIV that way....
      i was quoting an ad that mmi has here. smart
    1. Effenpig!'s Avatar
      Effenpig! -
      Well, at least I made myself laugh....

      Did we run out of real news again?

      There is a better chance there will be legislation forcing carriers to unlock phones after contract, then legislation criminalizing jailbreaking.
    1. lolcats1's Avatar
      lolcats1 -
      whoops you got aids. sorry bro
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      After your bogus and complete lack of factual data about Steam coming to Mac, it's obvious you write to generate page views Messany. This is nothing more than sensationalism at it's worse. I wish the so-called writers on this site would go back to the way it was before the 500k member push crap happened. At least we got real news and information and not this bullshi t. Messany, you are never going to be trusted on this site if you keep posting crap like this.

      Ban me, I don't care.
    1. akolemba's Avatar
      akolemba -
      guys sit down and read digital millennium copyright act... or any government wording at that. wording is always obscure and definition-less. supreme court judges remain in seat under "good behavior"... but there's no definition of what good behavior is. it's how the government works and it's how the dmca works.

      read through the dmca and you'll see that the core basically says if you circumvent copy-write prevention systems, or change them, it's illegal. there's no definition of circumvention either or what said systems are. a bootloader is basics to just about any piece of hardware on the streets, but is it a copy-write prevention system? the obscurity of the definition allows it to be spun in the sense that it is. manufacturer places a piece of hardware out there with the intention that it will only be used there one way. they can easily say that modifying the root system grants access to installing apps or whatever in a fashion that circumvents security measures. this is why wii modding for homebrew can be argued as illegal. this is why xbox modding can be argued as illegal. this is why changing your cars engine to run off of used cooking oil from restaurant greece traps can be spun as illegal. soldering a chip into your toaster can be spun as illegal. it's why people have been scared to enter the US for discovering flaws in the intel chips, flaws only learned by "circumventing" certain systems.

      the fact remains that law obscurity can screw you at any point and implementing such actions wouldn't be hard at all. making a specific "jailbreaking" law seems more unlikely.

      as far as collecting data about your phone. just go read about how apple shut some people off of itunes for modification. they know. they collect "non-personal" data every time your handset plugs in. whats the definition of non-personal? if it doesn't have your name, it probably isn't personal. simple as whiting out the top of your social security card where your name sits to make the information safely attainable under law. obscurity.

      now i'm no lawyer or politician. i believe in fighting the machine as much as everyone else here. i'm just being more realistic. freedom in this country sunk with the tea we through off the side of the british boats. it's an extremist view, but the kind of government illustrated in v for vendetta would not ever surprise me. however, the government is scared of the masses, there's only so much that can happen before we snap, and it's a constitutional right to rise up... not to diverge too much into full blown anarchy, as i understand that laws are needed to keep the peace, but there comes a point where the cost of peace becomes ridiculous.

      not to keep yapping... the point everyone's making is that this will never happen. i agree. but don't be so confident on jailbreaking being bulletproof to law.
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      Quote Originally Posted by confucious View Post
      There is plenty Apple can do to stop pirating - and I wish they would, without stopping JailBreaking.
      Why don't Apple try and stop the thieves and leave the rest of us alone?
      Which is why I said that Cydia should ban repos that host stolen applications. That would solve every problem that is associated with jailbreaking, ie stealing/piracy. It's the simplest and most effective solution but it's not done. Why?
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      Pffft, I'd like to see them try and stop me.