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EFF working to keep iPhone, iPad 'jailbreaking' legal in US

post #1 of 69
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An exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that has made iPhone "jailbreaking" legal is set to expire, and a digital rights advocacy group hopes the U.S. government will renew and expand that exemption.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week reached out to members of the public, asking them to help protect the act of jailbreaking, in which users can hack their iPhone or iPad to run unauthorized code. Up until now, jailbreaking has been legal through exemptions in the DMCA, but that exemption is set to expire this year.

"The DMCA is supposed to block copyright infringement, but it's been misused to threaten tinkerers and users who just want to make their devices more secure and more functional," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "The U.S. Copyright Office should hear from concerned Americans who want to run software of their choice on the gadgets of their choice."

The EFF helped to ensure that jailbreaking was granted an exemption in the DMCA in 2010, but this year the group wants to expand it to specifically cover tablets and videogame systems through its "Jailbreaking is Not a Crime" campaign at jailbreakingisnotacrime.org.

The term jailbreaking usually refers to hacking Apple's iOS devices in order to run software not approved by Apple. But the EFF's campaign uses jailbreaking as a blanket term for hacking all devices, regardless of platform.

Every few years, the Library of Congress' Copyright Office authorizes exemptions to ensure existing law does not prevent non-infringing use of copyrighted material. Two years ago, the office officially ruled that jailbreaking is an acceptable practice, though it still voids Apple's product warranties.




Through jailbreaking, hackers have created their own custom applications which are available from an alternative storefront known as Cydia, similar to Apple's official App Store for iOS. There are many free and paid applications available on Cydia that allow users to install custom tweaks, user interface themes and various pieces of software that does not comply with Apple's iOS developer agreement.

While jailbreaking itself is not illegal, the process can be used to pirate software from the App Store, which is against the law. Concern over piracy is one of the main reasons Apple has fought the practice of jailbreaking.

To keep jailbreaking legal, the EFF has asked that supporters sign a letter written by author and hacker Andrew "bunnie" Huang, an MIT graduate who wrote the 2003 book "Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineering." Huang's letter advocates for expanded jailbreaking exemptions to protect "security researchers and other tinkerers and innovators."
post #2 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... While jailbreaking itself is not illegal, the process can be used to pirate software from the App Store, which is against the law. ...

Just to be picky and because it's constantly being misrepresented, Jailbreaking is not "legal."

The wording is that it's illegal is the purpose you jailbreak for is itself illegal, so in the example above. It's not that you are using a "legal process" to do an illegal thing (if you are pirating apps), it's that the act of jail breaking itself becomes illegal if you use it to pirate apps. It's a small but important difference. It's not blankly legal to jailbreak your device, it depends upon your intention.

Jailbreaking is also illegal if it's used to port Siri to a device that Apple doesn't want you to use Siri on for example. Jailbreaking is illegal if you want to use it to install an app that itself does an illegal thing like tracking apps, various hacks etc.

When tech sites state that "jail breaking is legal" and then in one of their articles direct someone to a jail breaking site, they are actually breaking the law if said site does any of these things (or similar) or promotes any one of these things (or similar things).

Since many of these sites contain apps that would be technically illegal or links to sites that do illegal things, it would really be best if you guys stopped posting articles with such links to Cydia etc., and stop passing around the false idea that jailbreaking is 100% legal all the time. Since the majority of jail breakers would be using such apps or doing such things ... jailbreaking *is* actually still a crime in most cases.
post #3 of 69
Apple fans should be against "jailbreaking".

It hurts Apple's bottom line.

Restricting the users freedom is the way to go.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Just to be picky and because it's constantly being misrepresented, Jailbreaking is not "legal."

The wording is that it's illegal is the purpose you jailbreak for is itself illegal, so in the example above. It's not that you are using a "legal process" to do an illegal thing (if you are pirating apps), it's that the act of jail breaking itself becomes illegal if you use it to pirate apps. It's a small but important difference. It's not blankly legal to jailbreak your device, it depends upon your intention.

Jailbreaking is also illegal if it's used to port Siri to a device that Apple doesn't want you to use Siri on for example. Jailbreaking is illegal if you want to use it to install an app that itself does an illegal thing like tracking apps, various hacks etc.

When tech sites state that "jail breaking is legal" and then in one of their articles direct someone to a jail breaking site, they are actually breaking the law if said site does any of these things (or similar) or promotes any one of these things (or similar things).

Since many of these sites contain apps that would be technically illegal or links to sites that do illegal things, it would really be best if you guys stopped posting articles with such links to Cydia etc., and stop passing around the false idea that jailbreaking is 100% legal all the time. Since the majority of jail breakers would be using such apps or doing such things ... jailbreaking *is* actually still a crime in most cases.

You can do whatever you want with a device that you bought with your own money. No manufacturer has the right to say anything about it. They will only state that you lost your warranty and have a nice day.

However, if you intend to profit from the act of "jailbreaking" or use it with malicious intent, then that moves you into the "illegal" realm.

"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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post #4 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Since many of these sites contain apps that would be technically illegal or links to sites that do illegal things, it would really be best if you guys stopped posting articles with such links to Cydia etc., and stop passing around the false idea that jailbreaking is 100% legal all the time. Since the majority of jail breakers would be using such apps or doing such things ... jailbreaking *is* actually still a crime in most cases.

Speak for yourself. I jailbreaked my iPad just to upgrade the interface with apps like Full Screen Safari and Five Row Keyboard, among others.

Incidentally, the link on EFF to jailbreakingisnotacrime.org doesn't seem to be working, wonder if the site has been overwhelmed or hacked.
Hey, this Kool-Aid is delicious, what do you put in it?!
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Hey, this Kool-Aid is delicious, what do you put in it?!
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post #5 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

You can do whatever you want with a device that you bought with your own money.

Except illegal crap, yep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyapple View Post

wonder if the site has been overwhelmed or hacked.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #6 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

Apple fans should be against "jailbreaking".

It hurts Apple's bottom line.

I don't think it does hurt their bottom line. I have never jailbroken an iOS device but in Latin America it is the only way people of limited means can get an iPhone. The old iPhones that get sold on craigslist and ebay go straight overseas to be jailbroked and used on a pay as you go sim card. 90% of the people in these regions use only pay as you go sims for which Apple does not sell any devices. I think jailbreaking in this situation actually helps spread the Apple culture and good will to many foreign countries.

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post #7 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

Apple fans should be against "jailbreaking".

It hurts Apple's bottom line.

Not really. Apple doesn't make it's scads from the app store. And when you screw up your phone they can and will deny you ny service paid or not so you'll have to buy another retail phone, perhaps at full price

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #8 of 69
Sorry, but that graphic is hilarious. "Software locks hurt everyone" - no, software locks keep a lot of people from messing up their devices. Software locks prevent their devices from being hacked.

I don't have a problem with anyone jailbreaking their own devices, but to suggest that everything be wide open for everyone will just turn iOS into another tech support and security nightmare. Apple doen't curate the App Store and lock down iOS to be mean. They do it because it results in a better user experience for the majority of their customers.
post #9 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

Sorry, but that graphic is hilarious. "Software locks hurt everyone" - no, software locks keep a lot of people from messing up their devices. Software locks prevent their devices from being hacked.

I don't have a problem with anyone jailbreaking their own devices, but to suggest that everything be wide open for everyone will just turn iOS into another tech support and security nightmare. Apple doen't curate the App Store and lock down iOS to be mean. They do it because it results in a better user experience for the majority of their customers.

What sucks is that you can't get your provider to unlock the phone after you have completed your contract. Not jailbreak just carrier unlock.

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post #10 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

What sucks is that you can't get your provider to unlock the phone after you have completed your contract. Not jailbreak just carrier unlock.

totally agree THAT should be illegal, but the carriers claim Apple is the one who won't provide the unlock code.
(AT&T happily provided the unlock code for my RAZR when I completed my contract, since Motorola gave it to them)

Apple is the one keeping your iPhone locked, not your carrier (one more reason jailbreaking should remain legal)
post #11 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Habañero View Post

totally agree THAT should be illegal, but the carriers claim Apple is the one who won't provide the unlock code.
(AT&T happily provided the unlock code for my RAZR when I completed my contract, since Motorola gave it to them)

Apple is the one keeping your iPhone locked, not your carrier.

And you trust them. Mhmm.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #12 of 69
Jailbreaking is not a crime. Great motto. I'd be very much interested to know what percent of people *don't* use jail breaking to enable theft of apps.

It's like electronic keys. There's a few legit uses for them. But most uses are nefarious.
post #13 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And you trust them. Mhmm.

Moreso than Apple(!)
post #14 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

...There's a few legit uses for them. But most uses are nefarious.

I suppose the same could be said of crowbars and baseball bats.
post #15 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Habañero View Post

Moreso than Apple(!)

You trust the TELECOMS more than Apple.

The TELECOMS.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #16 of 69
Wasn't there one hacker that said jailbreaking is not recommendable because it also breaks security? That same guy is the one who hacked Safari under two minutes during Pwn2Own contest years ago...

I rather listen to him since he knows much about hacking & tech stuffs.
post #17 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

I'd be very much interested to know what percent of people *don't* use jail breaking to enable theft of apps.

Well I'm in that percentage however big it is... iPhone 4, iPad 2 and Apple TV2 all jailbroken...

iPhone / iPad for SBSettings so I can turn bluetooth on and off without digging through 4 levels of menu.
iPad / Apple TV for XBMC so I can stream movies from my NAS box via UPNP... While there are apps in the appstore that do this (I've even paid for a couple!) I've yet to find one that works anything like as well as XBMC.

I've never pirated an app, and I have no intention of ever doing so.
post #18 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You trust the TELECOMS more than Apple.

The TELECOMS.


I don't particularly trust either... but I don't have to rely on trust when I have experience (read my original post)
post #19 of 69
As long as hacking the PS3 (firmware hack), PSP (firmware hack), Xbox 360 (drive firmware hack), Nintendo DS (cartridge hack) all remain illegal then jail breaking iOS should, by those standards be illegal.

Direct comparisons can be made between the PS3 hack which allows the end user to reinstate the other OS features and run unsigned code.
post #20 of 69
Buying knives should be illegal. They can be used to kill people. If I used my butter knife to kill someone, the act of buying the butter knife at Ikea months ago becomes illegal.

I get that some are frustrated by the gray areas, similar to how people feel about gun laws in the States, but if there is a gray area, it is things like Installous, not jailbreaking. I've jailbroken my phone, and the only thing I do with it is add stupid tweaks, use activator for gesture controles, etc.

How many people out there are like me...you see this as a complete non-issue that shouldn't even be considered? I don't understand how the matter of jailbreaking is even considered a "matter."
post #21 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

As long as hacking the PS3 (firmware hack), PSP (firmware hack), Xbox 360 (drive firmware hack), Nintendo DS (cartridge hack) all remain illegal then jail breaking iOS should, by those standards be illegal.

Direct comparisons can be made between the PS3 hack which allows the end user to reinstate the other OS features and run unsigned code.

This interest me as one of those who owns a PS3 and knows (a bit) of custom firmware.

I'm glad that it remains illegal and continue to be so. Why? Way too much difficulty and headaches just to get things working right. Screwed up and... well, you're screwed. Some of them can even bricked your machine if you ain't careful.

I wonder if EFF can help & take responsibility because they the ones who's fighting for these breaks?

. . .

Nope, guess not.
post #22 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeejay21 View Post

Wasn't there one hacker that said jailbreaking is not recommendable because it also breaks security? That same guy is the one who hacked Safari under two minutes during Pwn2Own contest years ago...

I rather listen to him since he knows much about hacking & tech stuffs.

Jailbreaking for unsophisticated users is contraindicated. You simply have to change the root password to re-secure your device. But, if figuring that out worries you, you are not a good candidate for a jailbreak.
post #23 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

As long as hacking the PS3 (firmware hack), PSP (firmware hack), Xbox 360 (drive firmware hack), Nintendo DS (cartridge hack) all remain illegal then jail breaking iOS should, by those standards be illegal.

Direct comparisons can be made between the PS3 hack which allows the end user to reinstate the other OS features and run unsigned code.

i'm sorry, but I have to ask for some reference for your assertion that JB on PS3 is illegal. I don't believe anyone has or could be arrested or sued for that.
post #24 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by nunyabinez View Post

i'm sorry, but I have to ask for some reference for your assertion that JB on PS3 is illegal. I don't believe anyone has or could be arrested or sued for that.

Really? You didn't hear about the whole geohot thing?

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #25 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol77 View Post

Buying knives should be illegal. They can be used to kill people. If I used my butter knife to kill someone, the act of buying the butter knife at Ikea months ago becomes illegal.

I could use a shoe string to suffocate people too. Or my bare hands. Killing is illegal - no matter what items you use.

Jailbreaking has proven more as something that's abusive & has no moderation whatsoever. What happens if you install a safe-looking non-Apple authorized app that somehow got access to your bank accounts or at least your Apple account and use it for malicious purposes? There's no telling because there is no control and people are very nervous about their online safety especially as of late, news of people's accounts getting hacked are cropping up.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nunyabinez View Post

Jailbreaking for unsophisticated users is contraindicated. You simply have to change the root password to re-secure your device. But, if figuring that out worries you, you are not a good candidate for a jailbreak.

Still too much work. I don't want a Windows-like experience if I'm going to use a smartphone or tablet. I got other much important work to do.
post #26 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

Sorry, but that graphic is hilarious. "Software locks hurt everyone" - no, software locks keep a lot of people from messing up their devices. Software locks prevent their devices from being hacked.

I don't have a problem with anyone jailbreaking their own devices, but to suggest that everything be wide open for everyone will just turn iOS into another tech support and security nightmare. Apple doen't curate the App Store and lock down iOS to be mean. They do it because it results in a better user experience for the majority of their customers.

software locks are important, look at MS Windows. lots and lots of idiots are infected and don't even know it. Apple is smart and knows the vast majority of users are dumb and need to be locked out. they got ios locked down and now are close to os x.
Apple is an appliance company.
post #27 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeejay21 View Post

I got other much important work to do.

like wasting time on this forum eh?
post #28 of 69
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Originally Posted by screamingfist View Post

like wasting time on this forum eh?

I'm interested especially when someone mentioned CFW on PS3/PSP.

It's like when you heard someone talking and you're interested, you kinda want to be involved, y'know? It doesn't require tech-know-how to talk, does it?
post #29 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Really? You didn't hear about the whole geohot thing?

Yes, I did, so I guess I should have not included "sued". However since George didn't pursue the lawsuit we still don't know if game consoles are legally treated differently than mobile devices, so I don't feel comfortable using that as the standard to judge whether phone jail breaking should be done or not.

I had jailbroken devices for a while, but the frustration of waiting for then next break after a patch was more than the value of having the few extra features I got.
post #30 of 69
I know I've posted this before, but please forgive me.

Whether legal or illegal, jailbreaking your phone is immoral. You agreed to a EULA, then broke your word. You're just morally wrong to jailbreak your phone.

Sorry for the rant.
post #31 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeejay21 View Post

I could use a shoe string to suffocate people too. Or my bare hands. Killing is illegal - no matter what items you use.

Jailbreaking has proven more as something that's abusive & has no moderation whatsoever. What happens if you install a safe-looking non-Apple authorized app that somehow got access to your bank accounts or at least your Apple account and use it for malicious purposes? There's no telling because there is no control and people are very nervous about their online safety especially as of late, news of people's accounts getting hacked are cropping up.




Still too much work. I don't want a Windows-like experience if I'm going to use a smartphone or tablet. I got other much important work to do.

Glad you made everyone who is saying jailbreaking should be legals' point for them.

Jailbreaking should be legal, pirating or doing something harmful should be illegal. Just like guns, knives, shoestrings, or your bare hands. All legal. Know if you rob someone or kill someone with them, THAT is illegal.

And the government should NOT be protecting people from hurting their own devices. If you buy it, tinker with it, and brick it then it is your own fault. That is not something someone should regulate. If so, then the government should be telling people they can't put nitrous on their cars, because I've seen a LOT of heads blown because of poor work. Heck, according to some of you we shouldn't be allowed to do anything with our computers. Want to adjust your settings in mozilla? Sorry, you can't because you might mess something up. Want to overclock your processor? Can't, you might brick your computer.
post #32 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

Jailbreaking is not a crime. Great motto. I'd be very much interested to know what percent of people *don't* use jail breaking to enable theft of apps.

It's like electronic keys. There's a few legit uses for them. But most uses are nefarious.

I would imagine a large percentage of jailbreakers do so to enable the phone to work on T-Mobile's network.
post #33 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

I know I've posted this before, but please forgive me.

Whether legal or illegal, jailbreaking your phone is immoral. You agreed to a EULA, then broke your word. You're just morally wrong to jailbreak your phone.

Sorry for the rant.

So you never speed, jaywalk, curse, or anything like that?


Morally wrong? Thanks for the laugh.
post #34 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

You can do whatever you want with a device that you bought with your own money. No manufacturer has the right to say anything about it. They will only state that you lost your warranty and have a nice day.

However, if you intend to profit from the act of "jailbreaking" or use it with malicious intent, then that moves you into the "illegal" realm.

Well, as it involves software code and the modification of such, it technically violates copyright laws, which means the copyright holder CAN say something about. Which is why exemptions are granted, so as to promote the spirit that you can do whatever you want (within the bounds of the legal system) to a device you own.

The exemption is only valid if you don't violate the copyright for an illegal or malicious purpose.
post #35 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by airnerd View Post

And the government should NOT be protecting people from hurting their own devices. If you buy it, tinker with it, and brick it then it is your own fault. That is not something someone should regulate. If so, then the government should be telling people they can't put nitrous on their cars, because I've seen a LOT of heads blown because of poor work. Heck, according to some of you we shouldn't be allowed to do anything with our computers. Want to adjust your settings in mozilla? Sorry, you can't because you might mess something up. Want to overclock your processor? Can't, you might brick your computer.

The argument isn't that the government should prevent people from tinkering with their own devices; it's that it makes sense for Apple to lock down the device so the average user doesn't experience problems.
post #36 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

Well, as it involves software code and the modification of such, it technically violates copyright laws, which means the copyright holder CAN say something about. Which is why exemptions are granted, so as to promote the spirit that you can do whatever you want (within the bounds of the legal system) to a device you own.

The exemption is only valid if you don't violate the copyright for an illegal or malicious purpose.

violates how? You paid for the code and are keeping it for yourself. It is only a copyright violation if you then resell or profit off that tinkering of the code.


If I want to change the code on my phone to make it an "Airnerd 4S" instead of and Apple 4S, I can do that and apple shouldn't be able to do a darn thing about it. Now if I turn around and sell my Airnerd 4S as a new product, then Apple has every right to take action. But as long as it is mine, I can customize it in any way I like. It is mine.
post #37 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

The argument isn't that the government should prevent people from tinkering with their own devices; it's that it makes sense for Apple to lock down the device so the average user doesn't experience problems.

And Apple has done that, to protect the average user. My issue is when it becomes illegal for the "non average" user to do what they want with their phone.

I have no problem with Apple making it dummy proof. I have a problem with someone saying "thanks for you money, now let me tell you what you can/can't do with this item that is legally 100% yours now".
post #38 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by airnerd View Post

And Apple has done that, to protect the average user. My issue is when it becomes illegal for the "non average" user to do what they want with their phone.

I have no problem with Apple making it dummy proof. I have a problem with someone saying "thanks for you money, now let me tell you what you can/can't do with this item that is legally 100% yours now".

Unfortunately, you haven't ever purchased software unless you hired a programmer. You only licensed it. And as such the license holder has rights to control or revoke it. It seems like it should be owned, but it isn't. Just like you never own a movie or music you only are granted rights to play it. But should you try to distribute it you are in trouble.

Now I agree that for personal use people ought to be able to do what they like with licensed materials and that usually has been supported in court cases, but there is a subtle distinction between what you do with your phone (which you own) and what you do with the software on that phone (which you only license).
post #39 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by nunyabinez View Post

Unfortunately, you haven't ever purchased software unless you hired a programmer. You only licensed it. And as such the license holder has rights to control or revoke it. It seems like it should be owned, but it isn't. Just like you never own a movie or music you only are granted rights to play it. But should you try to distribute it you are in trouble.

Now I agree that for personal use people ought to be able to do what they like with licensed materials and that usually has been supported in court cases, but there is a subtle distinction between what you do with your phone (which you own) and what you do with the software on that phone (which you only license).

That makes sense.
post #40 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by airnerd View Post

Jailbreaking should be legal, pirating or doing something harmful should be illegal. Just like guns, knives, shoestrings, or your bare hands. All legal. Know if you rob someone or kill someone with them, THAT is illegal.

And the government should NOT be protecting people from hurting their own devices. If you buy it, tinker with it, and brick it then it is your own fault. That is not something someone should regulate. If so, then the government should be telling people they can't put nitrous on their cars, because I've seen a LOT of heads blown because of poor work. Heck, according to some of you we shouldn't be allowed to do anything with our computers. Want to adjust your settings in mozilla? Sorry, you can't because you might mess something up. Want to overclock your processor? Can't, you might brick your computer.

You're not making any sense.

Jailbreaking should be legal whereas malicious apps and/or pirating is illegal? Where are you gonna put pirated apps on if not on jailbreak devices? As for robbing or killing, which body part got cuffed when you got arrested? Your hands. And your feet if you start kicking. And your mouth too if you start making threats.

What an irresponsible comment. So the government should NOT be responsible for suicides and killings, is that what you're saying? Then we need not police and soldiers to keep us safe from bad, irresponsible people because it's our fault that we let these bad things happened and let those bad people roam free.

Does a lot of people put nitrous in their cars? If so, there'll be many nitro-equipped cars in the streets now and besides, you just touched on modified cars - one that I'm also interested in. You know that street racing, mostly with modified, nitrous equipped cars, without proper safety and management leads to accidents and other problems, right? That made it illegal because it endangers lives. And, from where I lived, modifying cars IS illegal because most of them are used in illegal street racing.

We're not talking about desktop OS where it's allowed to be tweaked (but not sold, in OSX and Windows case), we're talking about mobile OS and console OS. This is a new generation, not the old one. Console makers, such as Sony and Microsoft, has a firm stand on this jailbreak issue and has legal support - why can't Apple have one?
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