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Encryption Your Rights Online

EFF Warns TI Not To Harass Calculator Hobbyists 405

Posted by kdawson
from the right-to-tinker dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "The EFF has warned Texas Instruments not to pursue legal threats against calculator hobbyists who perform modifications to the company's programmable graphing calculators. TI's calculators perform a 'signature check' that allows only approved operating systems to be loaded, but researchers have reverse-engineered signing keys, allowing tinkerers to install custom operating systems and unlock new functionality in the calculators' hardware. In response, TI has unleashed a torrent of demand letters claiming that the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act require the hobbyists to take down commentary about and links to the keys. 'This is not about copyright infringement. This is about running your own software on your own device — a calculator you legally bought,' says EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick. 'Yet TI still issued empty legal threats in an attempt to shut down discussion of this legitimate tinkering. Hobbyists are taking their own tools and making them better, in the best tradition of American innovation.'"
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EFF Warns TI Not To Harass Calculator Hobbyists

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  • Re:Uh, why just TI? (Score:5, Informative)

    by palegray.net (1195047) <philip.paradis@pa3.14legray.net minus pi> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @07:32PM (#29739491) Homepage Journal
    How much money have you contributed to the EFF? It's amazing how many people make demands like yours without giving the slightest thought to the expenses involved. In addition, any movement in the right direction is progress. Maybe TI will decide to sue some hobbyists, with the EFF ready to fight for a legal precedent that might finally put a stop to this nonsense.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @07:48PM (#29739615)

    "Computer" and "development platform" are fancy words for "calculator" and "programmable calculator", respectively.

  • Re:Nonsense. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:02PM (#29739747)

    Communist cyber-terrorists. Who besides elite Chinese cyber-commandos would want to destroy American jobs by giving things away for free?

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:26PM (#29739943) Homepage

    Oh come on, is that the best you can come up with? "undocumented, unfair functions (such as symbolic algebraic solving ...)"

    How about a reprogrammed calculator that simply stores answers? Looks like a calculator but is in fact a data retrieval device that holds all your crib notes. I'd say that is clearly a lot more useful to the exam taker in terms of cheating and would certainly be something that would be disallowed in an exam. Just like pulling out your iPhone would get you ejected from most serious exams.

  • Here are da Keyz (Score:5, Informative)

    by ealbers (553702) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:35PM (#29740397)
    Here are the three keys: TI-83 (Plus): n=82EF4009ED7CAC2A5EE12B5F8E8AD9A0 AB9CC9F4F3E44B7E8BF2D57A2F2BEACE 83424E1CFF0D2A5A7E2E53CB926D61F3 47DFAA4B35B205B5881CEB40B328E58F p=B709D3A0CD2FEC08EAFCCF540D8A100BB38E5E091D646ADB7B14D021096FFCD q=B7207BD184E0B5A0B89832AA68849B29EDFB03FBA2E8917B176504F08A96246CB d=4D0534BA8BB2BFA0740BFB6562E843C7 EC7A58AE351CE11D43438CA239DD9927 6CD125FEBAEE5D2696579FA3A3958FF4FC54C685EAA91723BC8888F292947BA1 e=11 TI-84 (Plus): prp77 factor: 67070508990537181066342707695603050521324524613874331879259881495826493920589 prp78 factor: 186923771200711284770368041572205320486346816476524340240220962467860568859381 n=EF5FEF0B0AB6E22731C17539658B2E91E53A59BF8E00FCC81D05758F26C1791CD35AF6101B1E35 43AC3E78FD8BB8F37FC8FE85601C502EABC9132CEAD4711CB1 p=94489014C63CC9E1E1ADB192DBBDD1F78F90A630DA9C86EFC4CBCA44E5B4D54D q=19D431AF2794229620B884E3750D622D1C74F2E4569DC15486FC8D5A3BCDFE2F5 d=2A3E1B2010F318D9BD7C7E19300980B055A0E2A9554B77E7142E23CDF7C7CA13C233A3D462FDFC 968B1F9CEAF2AC2CF305147992AD9E834192ACEBB517DB9941 e=11
  • by ealbers (553702) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:36PM (#29740415)
    TI - 89: prp76 factor: 2231124525637629443181963045297394875470510167130210300957267082210173784611
  • And these! (Score:2, Informative)

    by ealbers (553702) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:37PM (#29740423)
    prp79 factor: 3226885534240147415018248397410101286362761128614350056368675111071170873486957
  • by ealbers (553702) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:54PM (#29740527)
    TI-83 (Plus): n=82EF4009ED7CAC2A5EE12B5F8E8AD9A0 AB9CC9F4F3E44B7E8BF2D57A2F2BEACE 83424E1CFF0D2A5A7E2E53CB926D61F3 47DFAA4B35B205B5881CEB40B328E58F p=B709D3A0CD2FEC08EAFCCF540D8A100BB38E5E091D646ADB7B14D021096FFCD q=B7207BD184E0B5A0B89832AA68849B29EDFB03FBA2E8917B176504F08A96246CB d=4D0534BA8BB2BFA0740BFB6562E843C7 EC7A58AE351CE11D43438CA239DD9927 6CD125FEBAEE5D2696579FA3A3958FF4FC54C685EAA91723BC8888F292947BA1 e=11
  • Re:Uh, why just TI? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:05PM (#29740615)

    What about all the similar crap that goes on with other devices? iPhone, XBOX, Wii, NDS, plus loads others?! EFF, why aren't you defending user's rights there?

    They issued a press release about the calculators.
    They have done way more than that for the iphone and ipod - http://www.eff.org/press/mentions/2009/7/23 [eff.org]
    They supported the "Hacking the Xbox" book by using it as a prize for people who donated to the EFF.

  • Re:Nonsense. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:15PM (#29740685)

    There is no issue with the legality of what the hackers did. Article 17, section 1201(f) explicitly exempts this situation (from http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap12.html#1201 [copyright.gov]):
    "a person ... may circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a particular portion of that program ... that are necessary to achieve interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs"

  • Re:Uh, why just TI? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:18PM (#29740707)
  • Re:Nonsense. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@NospAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:55PM (#29740915)

    Bullshit, the "checksum" (really a cryptographic key used for verifying signatures) is free for all to see as well, all we did was factorize it.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <{taiki} {at} {cox.net}> on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @12:35AM (#29741383)

    Apple is advertising the strength of their App store, showing off the apps available, and then contrasting that to the usefulness of a netbook.

    I think Apple's wrong here, a netbook is way more useful, but, they're certainly doing nothing that's immoral or worse than what TI's doing.

    TI's out to protect itself and the institutions that depend on the OS being in a protected state. hence they're putting pressure on the TI calc community. What makes it worse is that if they litigate, they'll win. Most users aren't calc hackers and this ensures TI's core calc business.

  • Re:Nonsense. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Romancer (19668) <romancer@deaths d o o r .com> on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @01:07AM (#29741517) Journal

    Yes you are.

    You are allowed to totally reload any software onto that hardware that you legally own/create/patch to make work.
    You are not allowed to use that altered or custom software to gain free access to their programming database for schedule information since that's part of the subscription you signed up for to use the box as it was. That's not to say that you couldn't make some software that gets the onformation from another source and uses the hardware to do the DVR functions using alternate drivers and all.

    You purchased the box and subscribe to the service. If you don't want the service you can cancel. Unless you got a deal for signing up for a number of years you're done with them and keep the hardware. You can now do with it as you please. Smash it with a hammer, sell it on ebay, or load a flavor of linux and have a dedicated dvr box with full control of the hardware you own. Minus the warranty of course. But really? What are electronics warranties worth these days anyway? Hack it!

  • by pjt33 (739471) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @04:53AM (#29742469)

    When I took statistics exams 10 years ago we had a choice of using the exam board's printed tables or our calculators for values of the normal, Student t and chi-squared distributions. It's tricky. In "real life" you're going to use the calculator: it's easier than the table and gives more significant figures. On the other hand, if you used the full accuracy of the value provided by the calculator and then rounded to the specified number of significant figures at the end then sometimes you would differ by 1 ulp from the figure obtained with the less precise value in the tables (which was also the figure specified in the marking scheme, at least for the mock exams we took).

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