You can now hack your car and smart TV without worrying about lawsuits

If you are a security researcher and intend to find out the inner workings of security vulnerabilities by using your car or smart TV, then it looks like you will be able to carry out both operations without risking a lawsuit. According to the latest implementation from FTC, it has authorized changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and will allow Americans to hack their own electronic devices, just as long as they own that piece of hardware.

Researchers will lawfully be able to reverse engineer products and consumers can repair their vehicle’s electronics, but the FTC is only allowing the exemptions for a two-year trial run. FTC introduced a similar change back in 2014 when it announced that you can successfully unlock your own smartphone for security research purposes and not suffer the consequences. The same thing has been introduced for cars and smart TVs and hacking them for the sole purpose of learning about security loopholes is definitely allowed.

Probing for flaws in both cars and smart TV will help consumers as well as manufacturers by coming up with better safeguards. However, you are going to have to be careful with the amount of freedom you have received. These exemptions explicitly state that consumers and owners of smart TVs and cars can only hack them in ‘good faith’ and if they have lawfully acquired both of them.

In a nutshell, it pretty much means that you will get into trouble if you decide to carry out hacking on items that do not belong to you, even if it is for educational purposes. If you want to educate both the consumer as well as the manufacturer, then you will have pay for the car and smart TV yourself. Be warned that FTC has cleared that it is only for a two-year trial run, so enjoy it while the fun lasts.