The Truth About Jailbroken Phones
First, let me point out that is not illegal to 1. Jailbreak a phone, 2. Use a Jailbroken phone and 3. Download a Jailbroken application from an app store like Cydia.
On July 26th, 2010 US regulators lifted the cloud of any uncertainty when they announced it was legal to unlock or “jailbreak” an iPhone. The US Copyright Office stated claimed there is “no bias for copyright law to assist Apple in protecting its restrictive business model.”
Jailbreaking an iPhone means hacking into the devices operating system, essentially allowing a user to run applications on the phone that were not necessarily approved by Apple and not available on the iTunes store as a download.
Apple claimed that it was illegal to “unlock” a phone but never took legal action against any of the developers who use jailbroken phones and jailbroken applications downloadable from sites like Cydia which is operated by Jay Freeman, more fondly known in the iPhone “Jailbreak” community as Saurik.
In 2009, The Electronic Frontier Foundation asked regulators to add jailbreaking to a list of explicit exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions. The Copyright Office agreed with EFF, concluding that, “while a copyright owner might try to restrict the programs that can be run on a particular operating system, copyright law is not the vehicle for imposition of such restrictions.”
Currently, over 10% of all iPhone users are using Jailbroken phones and jailbroken applications today and that number continues to rise every day.
It should be understood that this decision which applies to all smartphones, (not Tablets), does not require mobile device manufactures to allow unlocking or jailbreaking a phone, it just makes it legal to circumvent any controls put in place to block a user from doing it.
Regulators agreed that “the activity of an iPhone owner who modifies his or her iPhone’s firmware/operating system in order to make it interoperable with an application that Apple has not approved, but that the iPhone owner wishes to run on the iPhone, fits comfortably within the four corners of fair use.”
The one disadvantage of jailbreaking an iPhone is that is voids the warranty with Apple. Apple has declared that presently it will not change this policy and will only honor warranties on non-jailbroken phones.
To gain access to the many jailbroken applications on the market, one must visit Cydia. The iPhone needs to be jailbroken in order to start using the applications and there are many freely available tools courtesy of the hacker group iPhone Dev-Team.
Another important fact to mention is that one can reverse a jailbroken phone by just flashing it back to the base IOS which is done by restoring the original device IOS. For more information on jailbreaking your Apple iPhone, click here.
It’s only a matter of time when businesses realize that using a jailbroken or unlocked Smartphone is not only NOT illegal, but it will be necessary to allow the best and brightest applications to run on the device getting the most widely used communication method in use today for both personal and business purposes. With Mobile Compliance solutions in place, the enterprise can still be protected from lost or stolen phones, as well as monitoring the activity on the Apple iPhone. Additionally, since 95% of Information Workers use self-purchased technology for work, they will want the freedom to be able to decide what they are allowed to use on the phone they paid for!