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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<html newsdate="2017-12-12">
<title>Radio Lockdown: Current Status of Your Device Freedom</title>
<h1>Radio Lockdown: Current Status of Your Device Freedom</h1>
<p> For more than two years the Free Software
Foundation Europe has worked on the issue of <a
href="/activities/radiodirective/">Radio Lockdown</a> introduced by a
European directive which may hinder users to load software on their
radio devices like mobile phones, laptops and routers. We have informed
the public and talked to decision makers to fix critical points of the
directive. There is still much to do to protect freedom and IT security
in our radio devices. Read about the latest proceedings and the next
steps. </p>
<div class="right" style="max-width: 506px; width: 25%;">
<img src="/activities/radiodirective/img/radiolockdown-cage.jpg" alt="a bird cage with a router and a mobile phone imprisoned, both sending radio waves" />
<p>In 2014, the European Parliament passed the <a
Equipment Directive</a> which, among other regulations, make vendors of
radio hardware responsible for preventing users from installing
software which may alter the devices' radio parameters to break
applicable radio regulations. While we share the desire to keep radio
frequencies clean, the directive's approach will have negative
implications on users' rights and Free Software, fair competition,
innovation and the environment – mostly without equal benefits for
<blockquote>[R]adio equipment [shall support] certain features in order
to ensure that software can only be loaded into the radio equipment
where the compliance of the combination of the radio equipment and
software has been demonstrated.<br />
<strong>Article 3(3)(i) of the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU</strong></blockquote>
<p>This concern is shared by more than 50 organisations and businesses
which signed our <a
href="/activities/radiodirective/statement.html">Joint Statement
against Radio Lockdown</a>, a result of our ongoing exchange and
cooperation with the Free Software community in Europe and beyond.</p>
<p>The Radio Equipment Directive was put in effect in June 2017, but
the classes of devices affected by the controversial Article 3(3)(i),
which causes the Radio Lockdown, have not yet been defined. This means
the directive doesn't concern any existing hardware yet. The definition
of what hardware devices are covered will be decided on by the European
Commission through a delegated act and is expected to be finished at
the earliest by the end of 2018.</p>
The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance
with Article 44 specifying which categories or classes of radio
equipment are concerned by each of the requirements [...]<br />
<strong>Article 3(3), paragraph 2 of 2014/53/EU</strong>
<p>However, that list is already being prepared in the <a
Group on Reconfigurable Radio Systems</a>, a body of member state
authorities, organisations, and individuals whose task is to assist the
European Commission with drafting the delegated acts to activate
Article 3(3)(i). The FSFE applied to become a member of this committee
but was rejected. The concerns that the members of the Expert Group do
not sufficiently represent the civil society and the broad range of
software users has also been raised during a <a
meeting in the European Parliament</a>.</p>
<p>Nevertheless, we are working together with organisations and
companies to protect user freedoms on radio devices and keep in touch
with members of the expert group. For example, we have shared our
expertise for case studies and impact assessments drafted by the group
members. We are also looking forward to a public consultation phase to
officially present our arguments and improvement suggestions and allow
other entities to share their opinion.</p>
<p>All our activities aim to protect Free Software and user rights on
current and future radio devices. This is more important than ever
since only a few members of the expert group seem to understand the
importance of loading software on radio devices for IT security, for
example critical updates on hardware which is not or only sporadically
maintained by the original vendor. We will continue our efforts to make
decision makers understand that Free Software (a.k.a. Open Source
Software) is crucial for network security, science, education, and
technical innovation. Therefore, broad exceptions in the class
definition are necessary.</p>
<p>Conducting such lengthy policy activities requires a lot of
resources for non-profit organisations like the FSFE. Please consider
helping us by joining as an <a href="">individual supporter
today</a> or a <a href="">corporate donor</a> to enable our
<tag key="front-page"/>
<tag key="radiodirective">Radio Lockdown</tag>
<tag key="policy">Policy</tag>
<tag key="european-commission">European Commission</tag>
<author id="mehl" />