TI sends a cease and desist letter to calculator hackers

Calculator hobbyists who blogged about the modification of the software included on Texas Instruments (TI) programmable calculators have been sent letters from TI demanding they remove the material. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), who campaign for digital rights, privacy, and freedom of speech responded to TI in a letter yesterday.

According to a press release by the EFF, the hobbyists and researchers reverse-engineered the signature check that prevents unapproved operating systems from being loaded on to TI programmable graph calculators, allowing modifications to be made which could add functionality to the calculator in question: the TI 83 Plus calculator.

TI, who make their calculator software freely available online, as well as other applications for the calculator, such as the "Guess My Coefficient" and "Decimal Defender" applications, demanded that the links to the keys, and the discussion with it, were removed, making references to the anti-circumvention parts of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

However, Jennifer Granick, Civil Liberties Director from the EFF, said "This is not about copyright infringement. This is about running your own software on your own device -- a calculator you legally bought."

"Yet TI still issued empty legal threats in an attempt to shut down discussion of this legitimate tinkering. Hobbyists are taking their own tools and making them better, in the best tradition of American innovation."

Those interested can find the letter the EFF sent to TI here.

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