Virgin Mobile Says They Don’t Want Users Rooting

June 13, 2011
16

They lure us in with their promises of stock Android goodness, only to crush our souls. I, along with Android lovers the internet wide, applauded Virgin Mobile's comments last week that it wanted to sell Android devices free from UI skins exclusively. Today, Virgin just lost all that love and then some. In a statement that may has well have been "Android hackers need not buy," Virgin says they are whole-heartedly against rooting, and that it violates their terms of services.

Rooting, bootloaders, and Android end user freedom in general has been a hot topic. I for one think as the owners of devices, we have a right to root access if we want it. Virgin is saying that since its customers use their devices on their network, Virgin has the final say over what your phone can and can't do.

We do not endorse in any way end users using a non-officially tested operating system nor do we approve of 'rooting' devices. This constitutes a violation of our terms of service and puts our network in jeopardy," a spokesperson said. "We endeavor to provide users a customizable Android experience within the limits of the tested and network approved Android OS.

While we know other carriers aren't the biggest fans of rooting, none have been this outspoken. Clearly there is little Virgin can do to prevent you from locking once devs have found a way, but this attitude is a bit troubling. It's really a shame that Virgin would so drastically alienate the hacking community after just getting on our good side by sticking up for stock Android.

[via PCMag]


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  • http://twitter.com/dtg295 Jon

    The new version of the DMCA trumps their ToS which means that they can’t enforce anything on users who root phones. They can however make it incredibly hard to root their devices which means hackers will most likely just avoid them all together.

  • Anonymous

    You have a right to root the phone if you can manage, but they have a right to make that difficult/impossible and to claim ahead of time that it violates ToS.

    It should violate ToS because they shouldn’t be liable if you brick your own phone with third party software. You have a responsibility to know if a phone is easily rooted when you buy it, and/or the company’s stance on rooting.

    • Anonymous

      It should violate warranty, not Terms of Service. And, to think of it literally, the operating system on your phone is not a “service.” And keep in mind, too, that it is your phone. Just as much as the computer connected to your Internet connection at home belongs to you.

      Would you feel the same if your ISP told you that you couldn’t install a different OS onto your computer at home?

      • Anonymous

        I meant terms of service for the phone’s warranty, not the carrier’s service. Just a miscommunication. We’re on the same page.

      • Anonymous

        Why should it void warranty ?
        I’m all willing to py if i mess up and brick my phone (I would be responsible for that). But hardware fault non related to rooting should be covered.

      • Anonymous

        Why should it void warranty ?
        I’m all willing to py if i mess up and brick my phone (I would be responsible for that). But hardware fault non related to rooting should be covered.

  • Fremdschamen

    As Jon suggested, it’s a good thing for us that virgin’s terms of service do not have the force of law behind them.  They can make their policy whatever they want.  They can even make it hard on “hackers” if they want to try, but it’s unlikely they’ll ever succeed at stopping them.  In truth, the harder they make it…the more motivated the hacking community will be.  Some day they’re going to realize the cost of exerting this type of control can’t be justified because, when all is said and done, there is quite literally no benefit to them or their customers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Micah-Madru/100001151887665 Micah Madru

    “This constitutes a violation of our terms of service and puts our network in jeopardy”

    The only reason they’ll be put at jeopardy is because of stupid decisions like this. They’re going to lose customers.

  • Anonymous

    In related news, Time Warner, Comcast and Cox have all announced that it is a violation of their own Terms of Service to install a different operating system onto computers connected to the Internet via their services.

    • Anonymous

      Could you please provide a link?

    • Anonymous

      Could you please provide a link?

  • http://www.facebook.com/yourwrist Robert Norris Hills

    COMON! I cant be the only one laughing at the double entendre used in this story’s headline….Ill root as often as I like thank you virgin! 

  • Anonymous

    TOS violations are a joke. One person takes them to court and they buckle.

  • Anonymous

    TOS violations are a joke. One person takes them to court and they buckle.

  • Wesley

    @ Robert, if Virgin were an option for me I’d tell em to keep their virginity if its that big of deal. First thing I thought after reading the article. Also i’m honestly curious what mobile companies think they gain by having customers at their mercy. Its quite insane, and very Orwellian. Also, the comment about computers is 100% spot on. That’s what this comes down to. An Android phone or tablet is no different than your home pc other than the fact its more mobile and has a network card specific to your ISP.
    & Let us not forget that if it exists it can be hacked
    I’m glad after reading three article that the commentors are several times more intelligent than the Virgins

  • Wesley

    @ Robert, if Virgin were an option for me I’d tell em to keep their virginity if its that big of deal. First thing I thought after reading the article. Also i’m honestly curious what mobile companies think they gain by having customers at their mercy. Its quite insane, and very Orwellian. Also, the comment about computers is 100% spot on. That’s what this comes down to. An Android phone or tablet is no different than your home pc other than the fact its more mobile and has a network card specific to your ISP.
    & Let us not forget that if it exists it can be hacked
    I’m glad after reading three article that the commentors are several times more intelligent than the Virgins