EFF Says DMAC Expansion Doesn’t Go Far Enough

EFF Says DMAC Expansion Doesn't Go Far Enough

Security researchers can now examine more infrastructure and other complex systems without the fear of legal consequences, according to Zero Daily. A rule by the Library of Congress's Copyright Office has expanded the ability of security to discover vulnerabilities that threaten digital security.

The Federal Register said that the rule went into effect October 28, 2018, and gives this summary of it: “The Librarian of Congress adopts exemptions to the provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that prohibits circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works, codified in the United States Code. As required under the statute, the Acting Register of Copyrights, following a public proceeding, submitted a Recommendation concerning proposed exemptions to the Librarian of Congress. After careful consideration, the Librarian adopts final regulations based upon the Acting Register's Recommendation.”

However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said the ruling does not go far enough, stating that the exemptions are still too narrow and complex. Before the final ruling, EFF submitted a request for exemptions and explained: “We cited a broad range of examples where Section 1201 interfered with people’s use of their own digital devices. But the Office expanded the exemption only to 'smartphone[s],' 'home appliance[s],' and 'home system[s], such as a refrigerator, thermostat, HVAC or electrical system.'”

In requesting that the Copyright Office work toward improving exemptions, EFF legal director Corynn McSherry said, “It’s absurd that a law intended to protect copyrighted works is misused instead to prevent people from taking apart or modifying the things they own, inhibit scientists and researchers from investigating safety features or security enhancements and block artists and educators from using snippets of film in noncommercial ways. The exemption process is one highly flawed way of alleviating that burden."

While EFF supports the changes, the organization remains steadfast in its position that DMAC is an unconstitutional restriction on freedom of speech and added, “EFF represents entrepreneur Andrew “bunnie” Huang and Professor Matthew Green in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Section 1201. Having finished this year’s rule-making, we look forward to continuing that case.”

Source: Information Security Magazine