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US government legalizes iPhone 'jailbreaking,' unlocking

post #1 of 220
Thread Starter 
The U.S. government on Monday announced new rules that make it officially legal for iPhone owners to "jailbreak" their device and run unauthorized third-party applications. In addition, it is now acceptable to unlock any cell phone for use on multiple carriers.

According to The Associated Press, the government approved a handful of new exemptions to a federal law that prevents the circumvention of technical measure that prevent users from accessing and modifying copyrighted works. The report noted that every three years, the Library of Congress' Copyright Office authorizes exemptions to ensure existing law does not prevent non-infringing use of copyrighted material.

In addition, another exemption was approved that would allow all cell phone users to unlock their device for use on an unapproved carrier. Currently, Apple's iPhone is available exclusively through AT&T, but unlocking it can allow for voice calls and EDGE data speeds on rival carrier T-Mobile.

Other exemptions announced Monday allow people to break protections on video games to investigate or correct security flaws; allow college professors, film students and documentary filmmakers to break copy protection measures on DVDs to embed clips for educational purposes, criticism, commentary and noncommercial videos; and allow computer owners to bypass the need for external security devices (dongles) if the hardware no longer works and cannot be replaced.

The warranty-voiding jailbreak process allows users to run software not approved by Apple, which has no plans to allow users to install third-party applications downloaded from outside its sanctioned App Store. Hackers have created their own custom applications -- many free, and some for purchase from an alternative storefront known as Cydia.

Apple has been criticized for its strict control over the iPhone App Store, requiring that all applications be approved before they are made available for download. The company has defended this practice, stating that it keeps faulty and potentially dangerous software from being made available, as well as banning unsavory content such as pornography.

In April, Jobs cited an unsanctioned pornography store available for the Google Android platform as a reason to not support unsigned applications. "That's a place we don't want to go," Jobs said, "so we're not going to."

In addition to allowing access to legitimate third-party software, both free and paid, through services like Cydia, jailbreaking can also be used to pirate App Store software, one major reason why Apple has fought the practice.

Hackers have been hard at work on jailbreaking iOS 4 since it was released in June. Though the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G have been exploited, the iPhone Dev Team has continued their efforts toward both jailbreaking and unlocking the iPhone 4. With Monday's decision by the U.S. government, their efforts are now considered legal.
post #2 of 220
Hahaha Apple. Now what?
post #3 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The U.S. government on Monday announced new rules make it officially legal for iPhone owners to "jailbreak" their device and run unauthorized third-party applications, as well as the ability to unlock any cell phone for use on multiple carriers. ...

Wow. That was unexpected.

Excellent move on the freedom front in regards carriers. Really bad, bad, move on the "your allowed to jailbreak" front. I can't see how anyone can have any data security if jailbreaking is allowed.
post #4 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

hahaha apple. Now what?

finally!!!
post #5 of 220
Don't think the rules force apple to support iPhones that have been jail broken. The rules simply make it officially legal to jail break an iPhone.

And of course in the U.S. Where will you go for a different carrier. Verizon? No. T-mobile? Maybe if the coverage doesn't suck.
post #6 of 220
...Just as the Canadian government passed (submitted?) that makes circumventing digital locks illegal, where previously there was no law forbidding it. Hopefully our government pays attention to this.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #7 of 220
Without further details, it is difficult to predict the consequences. After all, no company can prevent any person from doing what they want with their purchase, provided the action does not result into any illegal activity.

What it may do is prevent overzealous companies to sue individuals for jailbreaking their phones. However, it does not give individuals the legal right to sue the company from not honoring the warranty, if jailbreaking leads to unknown consequences that cause malfunction of the product.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Hahaha Apple. Now what?

This knee-jerk response tells more about you than about the regulation or about Apple. And, it does not simply target Apple. I do not think the regulation is even necessarily in contradiction with the policies of Apple. As noted by other posters also:

Assuming you do own an iPhone: don't go whining to Apple or come to the forums asking for sympathy or spewing self-righteous indignation if you jailbreak your iPhone and as a result it would lead to hackers the ability to steal your password and other personal information. Remember the iTunes stolen IDs fiasco? That is one possible consequence of jailbreaking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WaruiKoohii View Post

For example, you can install a prepaid SIM for...let's say, Rogers, and it would work, and be a lot cheaper than using your AT&T SIM.

If this is technically feasible, isn't it already allowed? Afterall, I do not think
AT&T will have the resources to monitor all IPhone users registered to the company.

CGC
post #8 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Really bad, bad, move on the "your allowed to jailbreak" front. I can't see how anyone can have any data security if jailbreaking is allowed.

I don't see how this matters at all.

There is no data security with physical access to the device anyways. Jailbreaking doesn't make this any better or worse.
post #9 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorotea View Post

Don't think the rules force apple to support iPhones that have been jail broken. The rules simply make it officially legal to jail break an iPhone.

And of course in the U.S. Where will you go for a different carrier. Verizon? No. T-mobile? Maybe if the coverage doesn't suck.

It also allows you to use the phone on foreign carriers.

For example, you can install a prepaid SIM for...let's say, Rogers, and it would work, and be a lot cheaper than using your AT&T SIM.
post #10 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Hahaha Apple. Now what?

No warranty service. That's what.
post #11 of 220
Actually AT&T unlocks almost every other phone except the iPhone when we request them to unlock for using the phone overseas. Why the discrimination when the end user still pays the same $199 for upgrading to the best smartphones and AT&T almost pays $400 subsidy on iPhone and similar smartphones.
post #12 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorotea View Post

Don't think the rules force apple to support iPhones that have been jail broken. The rules simply make it officially legal to jail break an iPhone.

And of course in the U.S. Where will you go for a different carrier. Verizon? No. T-mobile? Maybe if the coverage doesn't suck.

Is T-Mobile significantly cheaper than ATT as far as plans?

I know people want to jailbreak for coverage reasons but I'm mainly interested in costs. Thanks
post #13 of 220
What does this change? Has anyone ever been prosecuted for unlocking or jailbreaking an iPhone?
post #14 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by WaruiKoohii View Post

I don't see how this matters at all.

There is no data security with physical access to the device anyways. Jailbreaking doesn't make this any better or worse.

It's only a problem if you jailbreak and forget to change the root password. The root password on the iPhone is well known, so a lot of people jailbreak their phones but forget to change the password. It's trivial for people to log in and steal the data.
post #15 of 220
Maybe this is why there are rumors that Apple will authorize a T-Mobile iPhone. Perhaps they knew this rule change would be coming, so rather than lose monetary opportunities to hackers, they'll probably just expand their offerings.

Of course, doing so might mean that they put themselves on the hook for making sure that devices bought on TMO or ATT are cross functional with the other.
post #16 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

... I know people want to jailbreak for coverage reasons but I'm mainly interested in costs. Thanks

But if unlocking is now okay, then jailbreaking just to use another carrier is no longer a valid excuse, no?

Personally, I think it's a bad move and the proof is in the text of the law itself.

The reason jailbreaking is being allowed is because it's considered that if you legally obtain a program to run on your device, the government now thinks you should have that right to do so. The problem is that the majority of jailbreaking goes on specifically to enable illegal programs on the device (stolen software).

So now everyone will be allowed to jailbreak, but 90% of those doing it will still be breaking the law. However the new law is vague enough and difficult enough to prove or adjudicate, that they will never be arrested. This will enable more jailbreaking and thus more criminality, all under the auspices of stronger and more specific laws.

Greeeaaatt!
post #17 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

What does this change? Has anyone ever been prosecuted for unlocking or jailbreaking an iPhone?

Not that I know of...
post #18 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorotea View Post

Don't think the rules force apple to support iPhones that have been jail broken. The rules simply make it officially legal to jail break an iPhone.

And of course in the U.S. Where will you go for a different carrier. Verizon? No. T-mobile? Maybe if the coverage doesn't suck.

Yeah, I think at best this will just force Apple to do what all the conspiracy nuts think they do already, which is put some kind of chip into their products that will detect if the phone has even been jailbroken. There will be big stickers on the box about jailbreaking voiding your warranty and we'll all actually be a lot closer to that Nazi state that the EFF mistakenly believes already existed at Apple.

Very ironic really (Apple only becoming the thing the EFF thought they were under prompting from the EFF itself).

All the idiots will be so enthused by this action that they'll never be able to take the law back now.

Also, just because no-one has mentioned it yet ... it would seem that this would be the end of carriers deciding whether you can tether or not.

The 3G iPad is about to get much less popular. Sell yours now!
post #19 of 220
There are a few things that I could see happen as a result of this.

1) Apple releasing encrypted iOS files
2) Apple sues the federal government considering jailbreaking modified THEIR software
(Using the federal governments logic I should be able to use a crack on the newest version of photoshop, right? Adobe cannot stop my from modifying their software)
3) Using legal precedent (PayStar case) apple sues and the ruling is overturned.
post #20 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorotea View Post

Don't think the rules force apple to support iPhones that have been jail broken. The rules simply make it officially legal to jail break an iPhone.

It's unclear from the information about this released so far, but I believe in the past, Apple has refused to provide warranty services to users who jailbreak, essentially arguing that the warranty terms have been violated. But it would seem now that they will won't be able to claim that the warranties have been voided. Still I don't think that Apple will have to support someone who hoses their iPhone with malware.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #21 of 220
after this jailbreaks will not be free anymore, the government just created a new market.
post #22 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I can't see how anyone can have any data security if jailbreaking is allowed.

Your Mac/PC isn't locked, yet is we all get by with the security that we can manage.

You are right that the current jailbreaks result in much of the Apple designed security to be broken. But that is much a result of Apple integrating their platform security to their platform locking. Surely there is a way for them to lock their platform down in such a way that unlocking the DRM doesn't fracture the device security.

My hope is that this would encourage Apple to 'curate' the App Store in a less heavy handed approach. One can manage allowed applications without also using it as a kludge.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #23 of 220
This makes me proud to be a citizen of the US. I can't help but think apple is slowly loosing its hold and power after the death grip fiasco apple. Its like what Leia said to Tarkin: "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers". I love apple but they need to loosen up a bit when it comes to things like third party applications and I don't know...Flash.
post #24 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgc0202 View Post

This knee-jerk response tells more about you than about the regulation or about Apple. And, it does not simply target Apple. I do not think the regulation is even necessarily in contradiction with the policies of Apple. As noted by other posters also:

Assuming you do own an iPhone: don't go whining to Apple or come to the forums asking for sympathy or spewing self-righteous indignation if you jailbreak your iPhone and as a result it would lead to hackers the ability to steal your password and other personal information. Remember the iTunes stolen IDs fiasco? That is one possible consequence of jailbreaking.


Why yes I do own an i4. I also don't jailbreak because I don't have a need to. I just think it's funny that Apple goes on and on to try to make jailbreaking illegal on their phones and they get told to eat crap and die by the feds. Good for the government telling them that their crap does stink and they have to follow the rules like everyone else. This doesn't mean that Apple won't make it as hard as possible to JB and existing rules that void the warranty will still remain in place.
post #25 of 220
This seems like a very empty ruling on behalf of the government. So my carrier can still force me to use their network after my contract expires if I want to keep my phone UNLESS I jailbreak and unlock my phone and jump through all the hoops that go with that every time there's an update to iOS etc...?

Grow a pair of balls and mandate they be sold unlocked or, at minimum, force unlocking once a contract term is honored be it full term or paying the ECF.
post #26 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

But if unlocking is now okay, then jailbreaking just to use another carrier is no longer a valid excuse, no?

You have to jailbreak in order to unlock, do you not? So, if it is now legal to jailbreak and/or unlock, then you still need to jailbreak legally in order to unlock it legally. The excuse is still there because of the security model.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


The reason jailbreaking is being allowed is because it's considered that if you legally obtain a program to run on your device, the government now thinks you should have that right to do so. The problem is that the majority of jailbreaking goes on specifically to enable illegal programs on the device (stolen software).

So because it can allow illegal activity, it should itself be an illegal activity? That makes no sense. You watch TV. TV's can be used to watch illegal material. Would you accept restrictions imposed on you by the vendor or cable company to determine what you can watch? Should iTunes be made illegal because it allows you to rip CD, which is the first step to piracy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

So now everyone will be allowed to jailbreak, but 90% of those doing it will still be breaking the law. However the new law is vague enough and difficult enough to prove or adjudicate, that they will never be arrested. This will enable more jailbreaking and thus more criminality, all under the auspices of stronger and more specific laws.

Greeeaaatt!

Do you remember in the 90s when it seemed that anyone with a pager or cellphone was a pimp or dealer? It was sort of a running joke. Imagine if someone had thought that was enough to criminalize cellphones.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #27 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Is T-Mobile significantly cheaper than ATT as far as plans?

I know people want to jailbreak for coverage reasons but I'm mainly interested in costs. Thanks

Based from the reports on some of the Android's, T-Mobile has cheaper plans especially for their higher end mobile plans. How long that will last, if they do get more customers is another story. AT&T for example no longer offers unlimited plans. Based from reports in other countries, that is also the case -- most do not have unlimited plans.

Also, what is the point of using T-Mobile, even if cheap, if you only get 2G(???), because the existing iPhones are not really compatible with the bandwidth used by T-Mobile?

CGC
post #28 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

No warranty service. That's what.

I would love to see the faces of the folks who jailbreak, then try to go to the Genius Bar when something goes horribly wrong with their iPhone.

"But, but, but..... waddayamean, no warranty service?"

And yes, I know for some, jailbreaking will be a blessing (international travel, etc.), but you really need to know what you are doing. For the rest, keeping a closed system often means fewer issues.
Pity the agnostic dyslectic. They spend all their time contemplating the existence of dog.
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Pity the agnostic dyslectic. They spend all their time contemplating the existence of dog.
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post #29 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgc0202 View Post

Based from the reports on some of the Android's, T-Mobile has cheaper plans especially for their higher end mobile plans. How long that will last, if they do get more customers is another story. AT&T for example no longer offers unlimited plans. Based from reports in other countries, that is also the case -- most do not have unlimited plans.

Also, what is the point of using T-Mobile, even if cheap, if you only get 2G(???), because the existing iPhones are not really compatible with the bandwidth used by T-Mobile?

CGC

Great. Now you can go to T-Mobile with your iPhone. What a waste of time.
post #30 of 220
Why would Apple even care?
post #31 of 220
Jailbreaking has never been illegal... this new "rule" changes nothing.
Apple just doesn't support the phone if it's jailbroken.

Jailbreak is NOT the same as unlocked. An unlocked (with ATT's blessing) phone will still be supported by Apple. It would still be limited to authorized Apps through iTunes, but could use any SIM/carrier (GSM).

My original iPhone was unlocked from day one (but was unsubsidized)... I was kinda disappointed when the later models were locked to ATT, but understand that that was a side effect of the subsidized pricing. I'll have to look into getting the 3GS unlocked before my next trip to EHAM.
From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that!" -...
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From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that!" -...
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post #32 of 220
since we can now jailbreak iPhones, can we also run OSX on a Dell or HP computer without fear of prosecution, if we've bought a legal copy of OSX?
post #33 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Your Mac/PC isn't locked, yet is we all get by with the security that we can manage.

You are right that the current jailbreaks result in much of the Apple designed security to be broken. But that is much a result of Apple integrating their platform security to their platform locking. Surely there is a way for them to lock their platform down in such a way that unlocking the DRM doesn't fracture the device security.

My hope is that this would encourage Apple to 'curate' the App Store in a less heavy handed approach. One can manage allowed applications without also using it as a kludge.

It won't. I suspect the percentage of iPhone buyers who are interested in this is has never been higher than the low single digits, and will not increase measurably. Outside of forums like this, I've never heard anyone say that they were unhappy with Apple's security model for the iPhone, let alone that they wanted to jailbreak their phone but were afraid to do so before because it's "illegal."
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #34 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

So because it can allow illegal activity, it should itself be an illegal activity? That makes no sense. You watch TV. TV's can be used to watch illegal material. Would you accept restrictions imposed on you by the vendor or cable company to determine what you can watch? Should iTunes be made illegal because it allows you to rip CD, which is the first step to piracy?

You had me at "Hello", but iTunes DRM-free purchases are a poor example of pirating these days.

Also, what do you think cable and satellite companies are doing when they set predetermined, exclusive packages when all you wanted was to watch one specific channel? I don't know about you, but I don't like to buy the extended package only to realize that the bulk of the channels offer infomercials for much of their schedule, meaning I am paying them to watch them sell me stuff? No thanks.
Pity the agnostic dyslectic. They spend all their time contemplating the existence of dog.
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Pity the agnostic dyslectic. They spend all their time contemplating the existence of dog.
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post #35 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I just think it's funny that Apple goes on and on to try to make jailbreaking illegal on their phones and they get told to eat crap and die by the feds. Good for the government telling them that their crap does stink and they have to follow the rules like everyone else.

I wouldn't like the government telling me how to run my business. For some reason, I just can't get excited about this.

What's next?
post #36 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Why yes I do own an i4. I also don't jailbreak because I don't have a need to. I just think it's funny that Apple goes on and on to try to make jailbreaking illegal on their phones and they get told to eat crap and die by the feds. Good for the government telling them that their crap does stink and they have to follow the rules like everyone else. This doesn't mean that Apple won't make it as hard as possible to JB and existing rules that void the warranty will still remain in place.

From my understanding of Apple's policies, it is trying to protect its bottom line, including its liability to potential lawsuits because of potential consequences of jailbreaking.

Their rules made it clear that if you jailbreak -- accept the consquences.

In practice, as shown in the forum posts, some customers blame Apple, e.g., the stolen IDs fiasco, before they blame themselves. And such postings would then lead to Apple detractors to magnify the issues, as if it was really Apple that automatically triggered all such problems.

CGC
post #37 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Hahaha Apple. Now what?

Er, nothing?

Unless that faint breeze I feel is the collective sigh of a million jailbreakers who can now release their clenched buttcheeks as they are no longer living in fear of the long hand of the Apple legal department coming to get them...

Now what indeed.
post #38 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post

Jailbreaking has never been illegal... this new "rule" changes nothing.
Apple just doesn't support the phone if it's jailbroken.

Jailbreak is NOT the same as unlocked. An unlocked (with ATT's blessing) phone will still be supported by Apple. It would still be limited to authorized Apps through iTunes, but could use any SIM/carrier (GSM).

Didn't Apple go to court to argue that circumventing the security on the platform represented a violation of the DMCA?

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #39 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The reason jailbreaking is being allowed is because it's considered that if you legally obtain a program to run on your device, the government now thinks you should have that right to do so. The problem is that the majority of jailbreaking goes on specifically to enable illegal programs on the device (stolen software).

So now everyone will be allowed to jailbreak, but 90% of those doing it will still be breaking the law. However the new law is vague enough and difficult enough to prove or adjudicate, that they will never be arrested. This will enable more jailbreaking and thus more criminality, all under the auspices of stronger and more specific laws.

Greeeaaatt!

Oh really? Most jailbreakers use illegally obtained software. 90% you say. Where is the data to back up that claim? Recently Jay Freeman in an interview stated about 6 million people (out of 100+ million iDevices) jailbreak the iOS based on Cydia stats. Show us where 90% of them use illegal software?
post #40 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

I wouldn't like the government telling me how to run my business. For some reason, I just can't get excited about this.

What's next?

There is a limit to what we can do. For example, we are free to do as we choose provided it does not lead to the detriment of the ability of others to make their own choice. It will lead to chaos, if each person is to be the sole judge of their own action, because different people have differing perspectives. That is why we have arbiters, and in a civilized society, that is the laws of the land, locally or nationally.

CGC
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