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EFF Warns TI not to Harass Calculator Hobbyists

pickens (49171) writes | more than 4 years ago

1

Ponca City, We love you writes "The EFF reports that they have warned Texas Instruments not to pursue legal threats against calculator hobbyists who perform modifications to the company's programmable graphing calculators. TI's calculators perform a "signature check" that allows only approved operating systems to be loaded but researchers have reverse-engineered signing keys, allowing tinkers to install custom operating systems and unlock new functionality in the calculators' hardware. In response, TI has unleashed a torrent of demand letters claiming that the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) required the hobbyists to take down commentary about and links to the keys. "This is not about copyright infringement. This is about running your own software on your own device — a calculator you legally bought," says EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick. "Yet TI still issued empty legal threats in an attempt to shut down discussion of this legitimate tinkering. Hobbyists are taking their own tools and making them better, in the best tradition of American innovation.""

1 comment

TI has no choice but to do this (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#29739423)

If they dont do this, they can kiss their lucrative educational market goodbye.

Without the keys, its essentially impossible to "fake" the reset options (you could create a program that looks just like the reset screen but it would still be accessible from the "programs" option and not the "reset" option) meaning that teachers and exam supervisors can be sure that the calculators dont contain prohibited material.

With the keys, you can replace the OS and easily make it so that the "reset" option only pretends to clear out the calculator.

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