US government legalizes iPhone 'jailbreaking,' unlocking

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
«13456711

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 219
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    Hahaha Apple. Now what?
  • Reply 2 of 219
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 219
    sergesfsergesf Posts: 35member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    hahaha apple. Now what?



    finally!!!
  • Reply 4 of 219
    doroteadorotea Posts: 323member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 219
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,754member
    ...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.
  • Reply 6 of 219
    cgc0202cgc0202 Posts: 624member
    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
  • Reply 7 of 219
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 219
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 219
    gustavgustav Posts: 824member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    Hahaha Apple. Now what?



    No warranty service. That's what.
  • Reply 10 of 219
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 219
    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
  • Reply 12 of 219
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    What does this change? Has anyone ever been prosecuted for unlocking or jailbreaking an iPhone?
  • Reply 13 of 219
    gustavgustav Posts: 824member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 219
    tleviertlevier Posts: 104member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 219
    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!
  • Reply 16 of 219
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,270member
    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...
  • Reply 17 of 219
    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!
  • Reply 18 of 219
    patranuspatranus Posts: 366member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 219
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 219
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,659member
    after this jailbreaks will not be free anymore, the government just created a new market.
Sign In or Register to comment.