Government wants to hack iphones, but hacking your own device can be a felony
The anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) are broken beyond repair. In April of 2015 we stated the problem succinctly:
Every three years, supporters of user rights are forced to go through a Kafkaesque process fighting for exemptions from the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA... In short, under the DMCA's rules, everything not permitted is forbidden. Unless we expend time and resources to protect and expand exemptions, users could be threatened with legal consequences for circumventing the digital restrictions management (DRM) on their own devices and software and could face criminal penalties for sharing tools that allow others to do the same. Exemptions don't fix the harm brought about by the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions, but they're the only crumbs Congress deigned to throw us when they tossed out our rights as users.
This is a message that we at Defective By Design have been sounding off on for years. Finally, the folks in Washington are starting to listen. On December 29th, 2015, the United States Copyright Office put out a Notice and Request for Public Comment on the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA. Congress asked them to study the effects of the anti-circumvention rules and the process of granting exemptions. This call for comment presents us with a rare opportunity to have our voice heard when they are finally paying attention.
But if they just hear from us, they might go on ignoring our pleas. That is why we need your voice added to the chorus. We have prepared a comment to be submitted that we want you to co-sign. Each co-signer represents another person who is fed up and wants a return of control to the user. As we make clear in our comment, a band-aid won't fix the gaping wounds caused by this broken system: we have to stop this attack on user freedom once and for all by repealing the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions.
If you are a US citizen or you are living in the US, then you can help by signing on to our comment.
If you are not a US citizen, then we hope you will use this as an opportunity to reach out to your local government about the dangers of DRM and nasty provisions like those found in the DMCA. If you do contact your own government with such a request, please, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!