Here’s a piece that can readily be pointed to in the future as corporations try to fight consumers on the right to repair their devices, locking down platforms to a maximum level to ensure that no one else can profit from a platform without a corporation consent.
As Facebook continues to try to crack down on Oculus users that aren’t linking an active Facebook account to their device (because what’s the point of a platform if you can’t sell user data), and users have been relatively beside themselves in frustration.
You either submit to Facebook, or your device loses much of its functionality; a device that didn’t have that stipulation when it was purchased.
Queue more than a few frustrated users wondering what they’re supposed to do with a VR device that has become a fancy paperweight for those that value their privacy.
Now, it appears that users are beginning to strike back against both Oculus and its parent, Facebook; they’re beginning to work on rooting the software and disconnecting it from social media tethers, which will allow for people to use their device as a VR device instead of a data-point aggregator.
It’s theorized that Facebook isn’t thrilled about the movement.
A researcher from the XR community has gained root access to Oculus Quest 2 and is able to bypass Facebook Login. https://t.co/XQVwRUTy1B
— Lionel_broye 💕💾📀💽 (@Lionel_Broye) October 28, 2020
ReadyHackerOne (RHO) validated the claim that a jailbreak, allowing the device to bypass Facebook login while still retaining the system functionality, is functioning as stated; they are working to protect the ‘researchers’ under the right to repair, which can easily dip into the conversation about user modifications to devices.
Note if RHO validated it, it’s the closest thing we can possibly get regarding an absolute until (if) it’s public domain.
RHO has further stated that it is their understanding that there are additional groups that are currently researching the Oculus, and they are requesting those groups to reach out to RHO to ensure their legal safety.
It’s an important distinction to make if you’re wondering why RHO is consistently naming what some would call ‘hackers’ as ‘researchers’: they are exploring the device’s possibilities, and not attempting to cut Facebook off entirely. If that happens, so be it, but that isn’t the primary point.
Being that DMCA now covers the right to repair, because politicians being lobbied don’t use technology so hand-wave everything away, jailbreaking and the right to repair have now become intertwined as the act of rooting a device is now covered under a legal provision. There are exemptions to the provision, but they are few and far between covering smartwatches or fitness trackers instead of suddenly hostile VR devices.
The take away is this: don’t throw out your Oculus devices just yet; users are rising up against Facebook to use the VR without tossing privacy aside.