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Jailbreaking and unlocking might be restricted in treaty pushed by Obama

SonicSpike (242293) writes | about a year ago

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SonicSpike (242293) writes "The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty pushed by the Obama administration could complicate efforts to loosen restrictions on jailbreaking and unlocking smartphones, tablets, or other consumer electronics.

A working draft of the treaty published by WikiLeaks prohibits the manufacturing or distribution of devices or services "for the purpose of circumvention of any effective technological measure." It goes on to prohibit devices and services that "have only a limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent any effective technological measure, or are primarily designed, produced, or performed for the purpose of the circumvention of any effective technological measure."

Derek Khanna, a Yale Law Fellow who submitted a White House petition that led to the Obama administration publicly supporting the end of a ban on unlocking, wrote in Slate that "while the White House was publicly proclaiming its support of cellphone unlocking, it was secretly negotiating a treaty that would ban it."

The treaty text never specifically mentions jailbreaking or unlocking, but the lack of an exemption to the ban on circumventing technological measures has Khanna worried.

"The treaty as proposed would stop all methods of circumvention," Khanna wrote in an e-mail to Ars. "The key is that there must be an exemption to allow for unlocking. In the draft text, there is no exemption for unlocking.""

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