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'Unlocking' your cellphone will be illegal starting Saturday


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#1 abecedarian paradoxious

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:06

Source.

Users will not be able to alter their cellphones to access different networks starting Saturday. But advocacy groups are questioning the law.

Starting Jan. 26, buying and unlocking a phone will no longer be legal in the United States.

The term "unlocking" a phone means to remove the security feature that prevents the phone being used on a different network. Once a phone is unlocked, it can work on more than one carrier's network. Unlocking phones is useful for those traveling internationally because it allows phones to work on different networks.

The Librarian of Congress, who determines any exemptions to a strict anti-hacking law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), decided in October 2012 that unlocking cellphones would no longer be allowed. A 90-day window was provided during which people could still buy phones and unlock them.

Currently Apple sells an unlocked iPhone 5 starting at $649 and Google sells Nexus 4 unlocked for $300.

Mashable reports that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is questioning DMCA's right to determine who can unlock a phone.

EFF attorney Mitch Stoltz said in a letter to TechNewsDaily.com: "Arguably, locking phone users into one carrier is not at all what the DMCA was meant to do. It's up to the courts to decide."




#2 Nashy

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:14

'MURICA!

Seriously. Retards.

#3 Nick H.

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:15

But...why? Who got scared by unlocked phones enough to say, "maybe the DMCA can stop this"?

Oh well, at least it's only in the U.S. A move like that wouldn't stand a chance in Europe, but I'm imagining that is due to the number of people who cross borders on a regular basis compared to in the U.S.

#4 AngelGraves13

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:17

It should be illegal for them to lock our phones. Dumb **********ers.

#5 Matt B

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:27

For a country that says they believe in the free market as if it were a religion; every time I hear about the mobile phone companies they're restricting consumer options.

#6 -T-

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:27

It should be illegal for them to lock our phones. Dumb **********ers.

Just what I was thinking. How does this help anyone or solve anything?

#7 Detection

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:43

How can they make a law against the way you use your phone? It's your phone isn't it ?

At least non contract phones, maybe the law is only going up against contract phones?

#8 jamieakers

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:45

Just what I was thinking. How does this help anyone or solve anything?

Helps the lobbyists that foot the campaign bills for sure...

#9 alwaysonacoffebreak

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:53

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This. Every time I read about a new law in the States. Seriously it makes my brain hurt already.

#10 StrikedOut

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:56

How can they make a law against the way you use your phone? It's your phone isn't it ?

At least non contract phones, maybe the law is only going up against contract phones?

Even if the law is for contract phones only, normally the cost of the phone is part of the contract, i.e. a SIM only contract is cheaper than one that comes with a phone and the difference subsidises the cost of the phone. If you are locked into a contract then at the end of this contract you own the phone so there should be no issue with unlocking it.

This is how it works in the UK but I have no idea about the US.

#11 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:04

Even if the law is for contract phones only, normally the cost of the phone is part of the contract, i.e. a SIM only contract is cheaper than one that comes with a phone and the difference subsidises the cost of the phone. If you are locked into a contract then at the end of this contract you own the phone so there should be no issue with unlocking it.

This is how it works in the UK but I have no idea about the US.


As you can't get out of the contract without paying the termination costs (usually the remaining balance of the contract), the phone is yours to do with as you will from the moment you get it. There are NO laws in the UK that limit when you can unlock your phone, and you can even get the unlock code from your telco most of the time.

#12 Detection

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:05

Even if the law is for contract phones only, normally the cost of the phone is part of the contract, i.e. a SIM only contract is cheaper than one that comes with a phone and the difference subsidises the cost of the phone. If you are locked into a contract then at the end of this contract you own the phone so there should be no issue with unlocking it.

This is how it works in the UK but I have no idea about the US.


Yep true, but doesn't the phone only become legally your own after a certain length of the contract?

#13 XerXis

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:07

Sometimes I'm glad I live in Europe, where every manufacturer has to give 2 years warranty (yes you too apple) and unlocking phones will never be illegal.

PS: not saying that everything over here is better :p

#14 TheLegendOfMart

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:09

You can tell who is really in charge of the country, all your representatives in the pocket of the corporations.

#15 StrikedOut

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:09

As you can't get out of the contract without paying the termination costs (usually the remaining balance of the contract), the phone is yours to do with as you will from the moment you get it. There are NO laws in the UK that limit when you can unlock your phone, and you can even get the unlock code from your telco most of the time.

Agree, this law is just absurd and a waste of tax payers money in even bring this to concept let alone getting this far.

Always unlocked my phones from my provider (Vodafone), never paid someone else to do it.



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