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[Discuss] Fwd: Hey FCC, Don't Lock Down Our Wi-Fi Routers | WIRED

This story is far from nothing. The FCC could enact rules that would
lock out the ability to load alternative firmware in a router - say,
requiring that the firmware required a cryptographic signature
supplied by the manufacturer, much like the way that some computers
and phones are locked down so that it is difficult to install
alternative operating systems. The proposed rule is written in a way
that would allow other methods to assure compliance, but locking down
the firmware would be the easiest way to comply and would surely be
chosen for at least 99% of the routers on the market.

A router locked down in that way could not incorporate any GPLv3 code.
But the Linux kernel is still under the GPLv2 license so it could be
used, as could any other software under that license or a BSD license.
The impact on the manufacturers would be small. They would still
release source code and users could build it, complying with GPLv2.
But the bootloader would refuse to run your modified firmware unless
it had the correct cryptographic signature from the manufacturer.

Eliminating the ability to install alternative firmware will hurt a
lot of people: ones who want to add capabilities to their routers,
ones who want to run secure software on an older router that the
manufacturer dropped support for, and amateur radio operators who
repurpose them for wide area communication networks.

On Thu, Oct 1, 2015 at 10:28 PM, Rich Pieri <richard.pieri at> wrote:
> On 10/1/2015 9:10 PM, Robert Krawitz wrote:
>> That's essentially claiming that the FCC could rule copyright _in
>> general_ unenforceable in this situation -- the GPLvAnything is simply
>> a copyright license.  IANAL, but I don't believe the FCC has that
>> power.
> Do you get how absurd all of this is, yet. There's a whole lot of tech media
> hype over nothing going on here. Slow news month, I guess.
> --
> Rich P.
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at

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