Jump to content

FCC to ban custom software for WiFi routers?


Recommended Posts

This will impact anybody that likes to upgrade their routers from the firmware the factory offers to something like OpenWRT for the additional flexibility and features.


Another impact on this would be that new routers built in lock-down mode would become scrap or an invitation to be attacked once the manufacturer quit releasing security patches. I've handed down a fair number of older routers to friends, they are still usable, from a security viewpoint, long after the manufacturer abandoned them only because I can load other firmware that is still being maintained.




a snip:



In a proposed update [PDF] to the regulator's rules over radiofrequency equipment, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would oblige manufacturers to "specify which parties will be authorized to make software changes."

In addition, it proposes that "modifications by third parties should not be permitted unless the third party receives its own certification."
While the intent is to make the FCC's certification of the next generation of wireless equipment faster and more flexible, open source advocates were quick to notice that the rules would effectively force manufacturers to lock down their equipment and so remove the ability to modify software without formal approval from the US government. Such an approach goes directly against the open source ethos.
As a result, many are unhappy about the plans. The proposals, which are not yet set in stone, were approved for public comment in July, formally published at the start of August, and had a planned comment deadline of next week – 8 September.
Earlier this week, however, the FCC approved a one-month extension to the deadline and an additional 15-day reply period after consumer groups and equipment manufacturers made it clear that they needed more time to look at what was being proposed.
In a sign that the response has been significant, the named point of contact at the FCC's engineering and technology bureau, Brian Butler, is not answering emails or phone calls and has changed his out-of-office email to point people to the comment period extension.
Other FCC staff that would normally handle inquiries also seem to have gone AWOL just before a long weekend in the United States.
Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...