The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EEF) fight to allow wireless devices to be opened up to all third-party software and applications has been galvanized by Mozilla, Skype and Cydia lodging formal letters of support for the exemption.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) currently restricts the circumvention of access control technologies, known as jailbreaking, but every three years the Library of Congress accepts applications for new exemptions and reviews the existing ones. The next round of exemptions will be ruled on in November.
Apple recently weighed in on the discussion with a response to the EFF’s submission, claiming that the jailbreaking process infringes copyright and exposes the handset and network to significant security concerns such as malware and unauthorized network access.
Cydia’s creator Jay Freeman doesn’t mince his words when it comes to Apple’s security concerns. “It’s ludicrous. Apple’s attitude is ‘closed is good.'”
According to Freeman, there are 1.6 million jailbroken iPhones globally, with about 1 million of those users making weekly visits to the Cydia application service, which allows users to download third-party applications that are not approved by Apple. Applications can be downloaded for free, but some require purchasing after downloading.
In Skype’s response, it cites the fact that the VoIP applications available on some smartphones “do not provide wireless consumers with the full range of innovative features that would be available if VoIP application developers were able to harness the full benefits of the wireless data plans that the consumers pay for.”
Mozilla is much more idealistic in its response, stating that it is “dedicated to ensuring that the Internet is a public resource that remains open and accessible to all.”