Eventually, though, someone will find a way though the M5’s defenses. Someone will crack encryption. Because that’s what people do—especially tinkerers obsessed with building the perfect car. Here’s where copyright law rears its head again: Because the programming on a car is copyrighted, breaking encryption could be construed as a violation of the DMCA. It doesn’t matter that no one is pirating the car’s software. The act of breaking the lock is enough to land tinkerers, hobbyists, hackers, tuners, and even security researchers in a contested, legal gray-zone.
No one has yet been prosecuted for hacking their own car, but they could. And as locks become more prevalent, the EFF and iFixit are willing to bet that, eventually, some carmaker will bring the DMCA hammer down on a hobbyist’s head. So we’re are taking a stand now.