U.S. government makes jailbreaking of smartphones, tablets and TVs legal

Jailbreak iPhone

The U.S. Library of Congress has granted Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemptions for jailbreaking tablets, smart TVs, and other all-purpose computing devices. This gives users who like to tinker the ability to modify their software without breaching copyright law.

The Library of Congress approved the jailbreaking of smartphones back in 2012 — and that exemption has been renewed this year — but it didn’t previously approve the jailbreaking of tablets. If you’ve been jailbreaking your iPad, then, you’ve technically been breaking copyright law. But not anymore.

The latest exemptions approve jailbreaking not only for smartphones and tablets, but also smart TVs, and other all-purpose computing devices, including wearable devices will cellular connections, and mobile Wi-Fi hotspots.

The Library of Congress has even approved the jailbreaking of smart vehicles for the purpose of “good faith security research” and for “lawful modification.” This allows the use of third-party diagnostic tools, and allows researchers to investigate possible security flaws in onboard computers.

Things you cannot jailbreak include e-readers, laptops, and desktop computers. Handheld and home game consoles are also not exempt after the Library of Congress found that, “as in 2012, opponents provided substantial evidence that console jailbreaking is closely tied to video game piracy.”