Is Rooting a Phone Illegal in Texas? – Jailbreak a Cell Phone…

Rooting or jail-breaking a cell phone happens when you remove the operating system restrictions on a phone to serve your own purposes. Hacking an Apple product’s digital rights management (DRM) is known as ‘jailbreaking,’ and ‘rooting’ refers to doing the same on an Android device’s DRM. Almost all smartphones & tablets have DRM software installed.

Houston Criminal Defense Law (281) 853-8537.

DRM keeps software secure; for instance, on popular payment systems like Paypal, DRM protections keep account info secure. DRM also provides protection to both the manufacturers of the software and hardware. When you hack the DRM for your own personal uses, you are committing a crime in Texas.

Jailbreaking & Rooting

Jailbreaking and rooting work by installing software to bypass certain proprietary restrictions. For example, jailbreaking usually involves installing code to manage the manufacturer’s OS.

Keep in mind that Rooting and Jailbraking differ from “unlocking.”

Unlocking refers to allowing the phone to be used with another carrier. (Ex: switching service from Spring to TMobile)

Rooting means you are allowing yourself root-level access to the device. By rooting a phone, you are allowing yourself to have administrative rights that typical users do not have (this is Hacking).

Hacking is wrong and illegal for many reasons. Hacking a phone puts the user in danger. Many programmers of malware and software viruses specifically target users who have installed malicious code. Therefore, removing manufacturer restrictions can make the device more vulnerable to attacks (like identity theft and spying applications).

Is It Illegal?

In certain situations the law is not entirely clear on the legality of jailbreaking and rooting. However, jailbreaking is indeed illegal on the iPad specifically. But remember, jailbreaking or rooting a device exposes the user to serious security risks, so why do it? You also are committing a crime in Texas by using illegal applications and software after the device has been rooted or jailbroken.

Also, a civil suit can be filed when a person unlocks a phone illegally. The fine in such cases can be as high as $2500. This practice can even be handled on a criminal basis if the owner of the device can be shown to be making a profit by unlocking the phone. This is referred to as ‘commercial advantage’ and can result in $500,000 in fines and five years in federal prison.

If you need to speak to a criminal attorney regarding this matter, then call our Houston Criminal Defense Law Firm at (281) 853-8537.