The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced this week that it has filed a petition with the U.S. Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office to extend and expand the exemption that makes jailbreaking an iOS device or rooting an Android device possible without violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States.
The EFF has previously fought for and been awarded this exemption for jailbreaking and rooting devices in 2010 and 2012, although it is forced to argue its case every three years due to the process in which DMCA exemptions are considered. This time around, it is hoping to expand the exemption for smartphones to include the iPad and other tablets.
The non-profit digital rights group argues that consumers should be able to install any software they want on their smartphones and tablets, especially given the security and accessibility advantages that are possible through jailbreaking or rooting a device.
“That’s important because jailbreaking (or “rooting,” on Android devices) has real-world implications for users’ ability to use their phones and tablets effectively and securely. It may be a necessary step before installing security updates after a device has stopped being supported by the manufacturer. In other cases, it may help users install accessibility software that allows them to use a device despite disabilities.”
Last month, a Chinese team called Pangu released an iOS 8 untethered jailbreak for compatible iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. Pangu was recently given a stamp of approval by Cydia creator and respected member of the jailbreaking community Jay Freeman, who indicated that the Windows-only jailbreak tool is “now stable enough for use.”
Jailbreaking an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch allows you to install third-party applications, tweaks, mods, themes, utilities and other useful packages from Cydia, the jailbreak equivalent of the App Store on stock iOS. In layman’s terms, jailbreaking enables you to further customize and enhance your iOS device beyond the limitations that Apple imposes.
While jailbreaking is considered legal in the United States based on this exemption, keep in mind that the process of modifying your device violates your End User License Agreement (EULA) with Apple and may void your device’s warranty. There are also certain risks involved with jailbreaking that could require restoring your device.