Philips makes a line of "smart" LED lightbulbs and controllers called Hue, that run the Zigbee networking protocol, allowing third-party devices to control their brightness and color.
The latest Hue bridge firmware update locks out competitors' bulbs from manufacturers like GE. Other bulbs that Philips have approved are not locked out.
This will be familiar to anyone who owns an Ios device: the manufacturer installs code in a device that you own that prevents you from buying legitimate things from competing vendors and connecting them to your device. The difference here is that Philips is doing this with lightbulbs instead of apps, but the principle is the same: though you bought the thing, you don't own the thing, and it is designed to defy you when you ask it to do things that are not in its manufacturer's interest.
This parallel isn't just a theoretical one, it has important legal ramifications. Under Section 1201 of the DMCA (and its foreign analogs, such as Canada's Bill C11 and European laws that implement the EUCD) it's a felony to remove a digital lock like this one, even for a legitimate purpose (like deciding for yourself whose lightbulbs you want to buy).
Philips says they've done this to help their customers.
While the Philips Hue system is based on open technologies we are not able to ensure all products from other brands are tested and fully interoperable with all of our software updates. For guaranteed compatibility you need to use Philips Hue or certified Friends of Hue products.
Lightbulb DRM: Philips Locks Purchasers Out Of Third-Party Bulbs With Firmware Update
Justine Haupt made this handsome and completely functional rotary cellphone. Her design is open-source and you can even buy a case kit from her company, Sky’s Edge Robotics. You have to find and carefully modify your own rotary dial, though — they’re apparently no longer made — as well as a few other components. Why […]
Samsung claims to have developed an “Ultra Thin Glass” for its new Galaxy Z Flip foldable smartphone, signalling scratch resistance and durability beyond that of similar products. But tests conducted by Zack Nelson using a Mohs Hardness Testkit [Amazon] — a set of styluses made of different materials — show that it is no more […]
There is very little evidence that Ring reduces crime. Hundreds of police departments have signed agreements with Amazon-owned Ring to obtain access to the home surveillance camera footage. Interviews with many of them, in 8 different states, show little to no evidence that Ring actually deters criminal activity.
The biggest companies in the world rely on Python to power their technology and services, and more brands of all sizes are jumping on board. As the second best-paid programming language in the country, Python offers developers the chance to make an average of $120K a year. Take your career, and your salary, to the […]
You’d be surprised anyone would have to say this, but…there are plenty of items that don’t belong in a suitcase. Like a bag of dead birds. No, really…people are actually packing bags of small dead birds into their luggage these days. Look, we can’t tell you how to pack. That’s your business. But we can […]
Presidents’ Day and VPNs may not be a natural fit at first glance. But think about it for a minute. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were both American presidents whose legacies are forever tied with liberty and freedom. And what is a VPN service if not absolute web liberty and freedom for all your digital […]