Leaked document shows White House in favor of banning unlocking, jailbreaking

By , Nov 19, 2013

Unlocked-iPhone 4S

The last we heard, things were looking good in the fight to reform out-of-date policies on device unlocking here in the US. Last week, the FCC chairman sent a letter to the CTIA saying he’d like to see changes made before the holidays. But don’t get your hopes up just yet.

According to information recently leaked by WikiLeaks, the White House—despite publicly supporting unlocking—has been secretly negotiating a treaty with other countries and special interest lobbyists that would make this and other processes illegal by international law…

Here’s the gist of the leaked information via Slate:

“Last week, WikiLeaks made public a portion of a treaty that the White House has been secretly negotiating with other nations and 600 special interest lobbyists. The draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty,which is on intellectual property, shows that HealthCare.gov isn’t the only tech topic on which the Obama administration has some serious explaining to do.

in its present state, treaty would expand copyright and effectively make real reform impossible. Worse, it would essentially disregard constitutional limitations on copyright and reject pillars like fair use, the first-sale doctrine, and having copyright be for “limited times.” The worst part: While the White House was publicly proclaiming its support of cellphone unlocking, it was secretly negotiating a treaty that would ban it.”

In January, following appeals by AT&T and other carriers, the Librarian of Congress issued a ruling making unlocking a felony punishable by five years in prison and a $500,000 fine. The move has not only hurt competition, but also the resale market for cell phones and other devices.

Shortly after the ruling, a White House petition went up asking the Obama administration to make unlocking legal again. And after some 114,000 people signed it, the White House responded, agreeing it should be legalized. But secretly, it’s been working towards the opposite.

“The leaked treaty draft shows that while the White House was championing restoring free market principles to phones, the U.S. proposed that the TPP lock in the process that allowed the Librarian of Congress to rule this technology as illegal through international law.”

And what’s worse, unlocking isn’t the only process the treaty aims to ban:

“But the TPP draft doesn’t stop there. It would ban numerous other technologies that have beneficial uses. In particular, the legislation would ensure that jailbreaking—which is installing a different operating system on your phone, tablet, or e-reader—is illegal. It’s already on precarious ground in the United States, but under TPP it would be illegal in all circumstances.”

Slate points out that since this treaty is still being negotiated, all of these issues could be addressed in the final text. But as it sits right now, it’s very secretive and very contradictive of what the White House has said publicly, making it very sketchy. Read the full leaked document here.

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  • Sputnik09

    What?? Obama lied to us again?… you don’t say.

    • gittlopctbi

      Except he gives pathological liars a bad name.

  • Vince Reedy

    If you like your cellphone, you can keep it.

    • gittlopctbi

      Best comment posted.

  • Guest

    this is all i got to say

  • Timothy

    Idiots. #thanksObama

    • Liam Mulcahy

      lol

  • jocastro

    worst president to date in my opinion, obviously bush would be second

    • Timothy

      And the next one probably won’t be any better haha.

      • jocastro

        hopefuilly he or she will be better then obama bin laden

    • http://conrefutes.org/ drumz

      Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one and they all stink, especially clueless bubbleclowns.

      • jocastro

        butt hurt much lol…. because the only @sshole here is the person(s) who has a opinion(s)… ohhh wait..wait…wait.. this just in .. these are all opinions…… so that must make you a @sshole also … (dumbass)… think before you write… and maybe just maybe one day…. you can have a real comment that make sense… smh

        also really bubbleclown? wow you need to come up with something better.

      • Carlos Gomes

        What’s with all the???!!! ??!11!?
        Are you having a stroke?

      • jocastro

        yes im having a stroke you caught me

      • jocastro

        ok i fixed it for you… better? next time ill make a special version just for you

      • jocastro

        oh FYI i didn’t use a 1

    • marcus1324

      We know Obama is the worst President in US History lol

      • Hu Jessica

        You are so freedom that can say he is the worst. We don’t have such freedom

      • Marcus

        Which country do you live in? I also sort of know what you’re feeling. I have relatives that have traveled to America from Communist countries.

    • John714

      AGREED!

  • Tim Anderson

    i don’t think installing Cydia onto your iPhone is technically “… installing a different operating system on your phone, tablet, or e-reader…”

    iOS is still iOS, just with a special happy little addition.

    • Barnez Hilton

      it would be a modified OS though, so they’ll get you there.

      • Jared Steffen

        What happened to the fact I bought my phone not just borrowing it

      • Timothy

        Communism happened.

      • jocastro

        they can do what ever the hell they think they are gonna do but its my device, if i want to modify it, ill modify it, and the government can modify my nuts in there mouths

      • iPhoner

        ROFL. I agree.

      • mafo5000

        Best comment ever. Hahahah

      • ThePirate

        Hope you can make your own jailbreaks if it becomes illegal cause devs I know will cease to create them.. *their mouths*

      • appleyay

        no jailbreak.. no iphone.

      • John714

        agreed!

      • Kevin

        They said a different OS though. Not modified.

    • Jonathan

      The main thing jailbreaking does is change everything that has read only to read/write, and install Cydia.
      I know there’s a passcode to gain read/write access, and nobody knows that except Apple. So, say you forgot your password to your computer. You could use Passwordblast which fires hundreds if not thousands of random keys to decrypt the password. Why not just do that?

    • Anon

      Yep, as a developer standpoint its still running iPhone OS. It allows unsigned (Unauthorized) code to run Its your computer(Phone/Tablet) you should be able to do with it what you please. The Government shouldn’t even have an even have a say over said matters, its not a state run company after all. Screw Communism/Socialism and any other alias it goes by.

      • Kevin

        This said, we get stuck in a paradoxal “intellectual property” idea that what is said in a EULA which no one reads, then it is as goes, but Apple doesn’t lose money off of jailbreaking, so why does the government feel that they need to do something about it?

  • Jake1047s

    Yeah if this passes it won’t stay for long.

  • Barnez Hilton

    IT kind of reads that you can’t upgrade your phone ever

    • Rickm_jr

      No it says you can’t install a different operating system. Upgrading the same operating system isn’t the same thing

      • dialogueanalog

        when you upgrade, you install the new system by default no?

      • Rickm_jr

        By example, Windows is an OS. Rather it be Windows 3.1 or Windows 8.1, they are both “Windows” operating systems. A different operating system would be Linux.

      • dialogueanalog

        So jailbreaking shouldn’t be illegal under the proposed law as it doesn’t change the name of the system

      • Anon

        Don’t forget XNU for iOS by Winocm, or The (dead) iDroid Project, those were different Operating Systems that used an (almost) entirely different kernal

  • Question

    Would’nt apple loose customers like this?

    • Rowan09

      They say jail breaking but it’s not only for iPhones it will involve any hacking or modification like rooting.

      • jocastro

        well jailbreaking is just another form of rooting or is basically rooting but for apple

    • ThePirate

      Lose*

    • Jo

      There are 500 million people using normal iOS.
      I would say 25 million right now are jailbroken and much more have jailbroken in history.
      That’s about 13%. Not much, but I have seen that more and more people are jailbreaking their phones.
      iOS 4: JailbreakMe- 2 or 3 million.plus other tools iOS 5: Absinthe: 7 million.plus i think other jailbreak tools like redsn0w iOS 6: Evasi0n-19 million.
      If iOS 7 jailbreak is out, many many people will jailbreak and be ticked off if this law passes.

  • Tony Trenkle Jr.

    Cant wait to be arrested with you all and be in the same jail cell with our jailbroken iphones! Maybe they’ll organize us by how many tweaks we have installed!

    • Timothy

      Hahaha forget the White House, let jailbreaking reign!

      • Tony Trenkle Jr.

        We’ll have to ask Obama what his favorite tweak is. Lol

      • jocastro

        lol he will lie about it like everything else duhhhh

    • jocastro

      hahaa amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, i call top bunk

    • Sputnik09

      Hope no one drops their phones in the shower

    • Noah Mospan

      The IDB crew will run the prison gangs.

      • jocastro

        viva the revelation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!maybe we might get a movie about us and how the jailbreak community went to jail for jailbreaking iphone devices!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Tony Trenkle Jr.

        It will be amazing!! And we can do our own podcast in the cells! Jail breaking in jail! Lmao

      • Kevin

        People will be confused because we are “jailbreakers” so they’d be wondering when we would try to “make our move” on breaking out of jail

      • Tony Trenkle Jr.

        Hellz yeah!! The Longest Yard 2! IDB takes over!

    • H5ire

      & the beginning of *iPrison Break*.!! ;)

    • Jo

      Then the Evad3rs are going to help us JAILBREAK us out of the prison cell!

      • Tony Trenkle Jr.

        We’re having too much fun with this. lol

      • Jo

        This is too funny hahaha

      • Drake Miller

        jailbreak will released for real prisons, iPhones, iPads and iPods.

  • Jared Steffen

    No way

  • Diego Gastón Milano

    Five years of prison for this and we have corrupt politicians as well as
    molesters and pervs everywhere spreading their insanity for free? Well,
    I’m not surprised there. What’s next in the agenda? :)

    • jocastro

      yep because jailbroken iphone are very dangerous like the atomic bomb…. it go kaaa-boom

  • Rowan09

    The US is becoming one of the worst nations in the world. Jail breaking a tablet is illegal right now but how do you monitor that? These damn capitalists is just disgusting. The rich is going to continue to get rich while the poor keep on getting poorer. When does the petition start I’m signing it?

    • jocastro

      second that definitely

      • blastingbigairs

        Congress runs it buddy, not Curious George. No matter who we put in the Shit House, the Goverment will fail us.

  • trumpet444

    This shouldn’t even be the prerogative of the damn White House. They need to stop sticking their noses into every little corner of this country

  • Stefano

    DISGUSTING!

  • Jo

    In prison:
    So what are you here for?
    I jailbroke my phone.
    OH man we have an outlaw here!

    • jocastro

      you mean jailbreak terrorists lol

  • Jo

    If jailbreaking would be illegal it would be REALLY bad especially for this blog.

    • Jo

      I mean it would be a terrible thing to happen for us if jailbreaking was illegal especially for this blog.

  • Jo

    23 million people jailbroke their phones and more unlocked them are they really going to try to arrest 23+ million people

    • jocastro

      hahaha, they can try.. lets start a rebellion damn it and go luke skywalker on there ass… we will definitely show them a new hope hahahahahaha

      • appleyay

        bad idea .. they will label you as the “T” word then oil you off…loll

    • felixtaf

      Its not about arresting people. Several small business may shut down. Used phone market will shatter. Used att iPhone 5 64 gb is 380$ now, while used verizon iPhone 5 64gb is 510$ now (coz its unlocked). At&t already stopped issuing bulk codes.
      What I dont understand is, when u buy a phone in contract – you are eventually goin to pay for the phone (whether u unlock it or sell it). These people are greedy and sick and have a freakin govt to Back them up!!!

      • appleyay

        welcome to capitalism

  • Abdl

    Thank God i dont live in the US!!

    • Burge

      Read the post again.. Obama talking to OTHER CUNTRIES..
      This is all we need ..

      • jocastro

        mattttttttt damonnnn

  • ehX

    I’m just glad to see that this many people here disagree with that black copy of Hitler who is in charge of our country right now. Reddit would be like, “Why would such a great man do this?!” or something similar of the sort.

  • JulianZH

    Unlock or not, it doesn’t affect me. Thank goodness.

  • Taf Khan

    If you buy a car and chose to smash it to bits then that’s up to you, you own it the do as you please. Technology should be no different, maybe if devices are unlocked or jailbroken it makes it harder for government agencies to track and monitor the public…

    Will other governments really agree to this given all the snooping that’s gone on…

  • Dontwannaknow

    Let’s go back to feature phone. Smartphones era ends here.

  • Jonathan

    Greaaaaat, now I gotta become a professional private hacker and create my own jailbreak for myself. Woo hoo.

    • Jo

      No you don’t need to: the Evad3rs and the team plus iDownloadblog will run an illegal underground jailbreak system.

  • Ryan James Christensen

    that’s dumb. we should be able to unlock our phones, whether it be ourselves or by the phone company.

  • Harrison Grant

    Jesus Christ. “Five years in prison and a $500,000 fine” for unlocking a phone?

  • thetomthebomb

    Obama = anti-Christ. The government will enslave us all!!!!

    • appleyay

      capitalism has had us enslave d for a long time already

  • gittlopctbi

    So when is the country going to understand that this president is just a liar and nothing but a liar?

  • Tyler

    what a bunch of oppressive bastards

  • Yunsar

    Does this apply to PCs?

  • Robson Jr S

    This is how Americans think: “oh they really like weed, let’s outlaw it”
    Now they can spend billions on drug units”

    Oh they like jbing and unlocking? Let’s make that illegal and fine a bunh of ppl 500k.
    It’s all about money in the states that’s why the rest Of the world can’t wait for china to blow them up

    • Alan Spicer

      China can’t blow THEM up then they would have nowhere to get their income from.

  • Brian Powers

    Jailbreaking is in no way installing a new operating system. That would suggest taking an iOS raw ipsw, modifying it and then installing it. Some jailbreak tools do do this so you can further customize your phone with customizations that have to be made upon restore, such as Sn0wbreeze, and some jailbreaks in general had to be pulled off using the restore functionality. But the process itself is only removing the read-only restrictions on the system directory partition and inserting kernel code to bypass code-signatures. Remember Comex’s jailbreaks? Go to a web page, click here, jailbroken. Without restarting or modifying the ipsw. I find it hard to prove that to be illegal. This debate is like torrents. Torrent programs and torrenting in general is not illegal. However what you torrent is (tv shows, movies). The only real reason jailbreaking is even debatable is because you can get free applications. However most people don’t use it for that, and the main program that people used to get those apps on is no longer available (Install0ous, which you could relate to as thepiratebay). There is some functionality that jailbreaking allows you to do for free that your carrier wants to charge you for, for instance tethering. However it’s your data, your not illegally using more data. Therefore in reality you are paying the company for the technology. Just because someone else offers it for free, doesn’t make it illegal. It’s called competition. How stupid would it be if the judge really looked you in the face and said ‘Changing the text on the iPhone lockscreen from Slide to Unlock to something different is a violation of American law’. Haha really? But you let people change their entire names?

    Biggest issue: 50+ year olds arguing over what 20+ year olds do when the only available information to them is heresay or on paper. Let the jailbreakers and developers spend an hour each with everyone in the courtroom and their iphone and this would get thrown out.

  • cybersat

    The iPhone’s doom day is coming soon.

  • appleyay

    yup hear we go again.. as soon as i can t jailbreak i will no longer care about phones at all

  • air naji

    hey everyone lets hate the black president. apple has gone to shit. when the pwn stars switch up to android. we should follow

  • Drake Miller

    since i’m not using Jailbreak for a while and i don’t even need to unlock my device, i don’t think that it will be affecting me UNLESS if I saw jaw-dropping features made by cydia tweaks and so..

  • Y2J

    I couldn’t give any less fvcks if jailbreaking is legal or not, if the Evaders make a jailbreak, I’m doing it. And Obama can go rot in heII.

  • appl3h4ck3r

    What the f**k? Jailbreaking installs a new OS? God would I love to see what this OS looks like! And this is why the US is the laughing stock of the entire world. The government obviously does not know anything about jailbreaking and I’d be willing to bet money that Apple was the one who said that jailbreaking “installs a different OS.” F@$# you guys. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some government officials that have an unlocked/jailbroken Apple device. So, those in the NSA and the government in general who are reading this; know the true and actual facts before being in favor of banning unlocking and jailbreaking. Apple doesn’t lose any money for it and cell phone companies are making money either way, doesn’t matter who your provider is. “But it’s good for competition.” Right. Like any big business in America needs more money in any way. HA!

  • Bill Gittings

    This is more governmental BS. If I bought my device, and I want to jailbreak my device, that’s my right. How much more of this governmental “medling” with our rights are we going to put up with? First the large size soda bullsh*t and now this.

  • Hoang Nguyen

    F**K OBAMA with a capital F!

  • Kevin

    I bet Apple would fight against it too. Because if you think about it, if you can’t jailbreak your iPhone then all the people that were jailbreakers would cease to buy them losing profit for Apple.