Having declared last week that it was not illegal to jailbreak iPhones the U.S. government effectively gave consumers the right to fiddle with their proprietary software, allowing them access to other providers or to use apps and music from sources other than Apple’s own iTunes Store. This all became possible thanks to the exemptions made to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA.)
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF,) a selfstyled civil liberties group defending consumers’ digital rights, more than a million iPhone owners are said to have jailbroken their handsets in the past few months. The EFF hails the DMCA exemptions as a landmark victory and a good percentage of iPhone users might agree with them.
Apple on the other hand has warned that although jailbreaking may not be frowned upon by the law of the land, it won’t take the matter so lightly. Not only will jailbreaking void the warranty, but there is a risk of bricking the handset, effectively turning it into an expensive door stop. However, according to a journalist friend of mine it can be easily restored to a non jailbroken state.
If you’re after my personal opinion, I’m torn. On the one hand, I agree that Apple should be able to protect their IP with some legal recourse, however, emotionally I’m with the EFF (who remind me a bit of the Wolverines from mediocre 80s action flick Red Dawn) who believe a handset shouldn’t be locked down once you’ve purchased it. This battle will continue to rage. Choose your side carefully, maybe grow a mullet, wear khaki, buy an AK.
Let me know what you think about jailbreaking; a digital taboo, or your revolutionary right?