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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:10 PM   #1
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Unauthorized Unlocking of New Mobile Phones Set to Become Illegal in U.S.




As noted by Tech News Daily, a new federal policy in the United States is set to go into effect this Saturday that will make it illegal for certain mobile phone owners to unlock their devices for use on other carriers unless specifically authorized by their carriers. The policy applies to newly purchased devices beginning on Saturday, but not to legacy devices purchased prior to that date.
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In October 2012, the Librarian of Congress, who determines exemptions to a strict anti-hacking law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), decided that unlocking mobile phones would no longer be allowed. But the librarian provided a 90-day window during which people could still buy a phone and unlock it. That window closes on January 26.
Unlocking devices allows users to take their phones to other carriers such as T-Mobile or to use SIM cards from international carriers while traveling abroad without needing to purchase expensive international roaming packages from their domestic carrier.

Users can, of course, still purchase unlocked iPhones at unsubsidized prices, and, last April, AT&T began unlocking iPhones for customers whose contract terms were completed or who had paid early termination fees to end them early. The SIM card slots on the Verizon iPhone 5 are already unlocked, while Sprint announced that it would unlock the SIM card slot on its iPhones for international usage three months after purchase.

In the decision outlined in the Federal Register, these policies were cited as reasons for not allowing an unlocking exemption to the DMCA for newly purchased devices.
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The Register concluded after a review of the statutory factors that an exemption to the prohibition on circumvention of mobile phone computer programs to permit users to unlock "legacy'' phones is both warranted and unlikely to harm the market for such programs. At the same time, in light of carriers' current unlocking policies and the ready availability of new unlocked phones in the marketplace, the record did not support an exemption for newly purchased phones. Looking to precedents in copyright law, the Register recommended that the class designated by the Librarian include a 90-day transitional period to allow unlocking by those who may acquire phones shortly after the new exemption goes into effect.
Carriers such as AT&T already forbid unauthorized unlocking in their customer contracts, but the clarification of DMCA policy with respect to unlocking will now make the issue a criminal one. iPhone unlocking services have enjoyed a fair amount of popularity, and while a substantial pool of eligible legacy devices will remain, it appears that these services will be unable to legally unlock any new devices for their customers.

Article Link: Unauthorized Unlocking of New Mobile Phones Set to Become Illegal in U.S.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:11 PM   #2
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What.. the government is going to give me 10 years, The library of Congress can go to hell
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:11 PM   #3
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Just what the competitive telco landscape needs in the USA

/Sacrasm
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:13 PM   #4
Squilly
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Well that sucks. Hear that folks? Don't unlock phones. Not that people won't do it anyways...
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:15 PM   #5
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Wtf?!
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:16 PM   #6
Moshe1010
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You can unlock your device for $3-4 on eBay, and you don't need AT&T or other company to do it. It's 100% legit (probably inside job), and the best thing is that it works.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:13 PM   #7
profets
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Quote:
but the clarification of DMCA policy with respect to unlocking will now make the issue a criminal one.
It'll be criminal to unlock a phone? Incredible.

Customers are already paying back the subsidy through a term contract with the carrier, regardless of whether the phone is unlocked or not.

Talk about anti-consumer.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:15 PM   #8
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Should make browsing eBay much easier then.
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 03:31 AM   #9
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Sensible cellular phone legislation - PETITION

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Originally Posted by profets View Post
It'll be criminal to unlock a phone? Incredible.

Customers are already paying back the subsidy through a term contract with the carrier, regardless of whether the phone is unlocked or not.

Talk about anti-consumer.
I knocked out a petition for the White House to respond to: Improve Cellular Phone Carrier Business Practices please sign it so we can get a response on this issue.

The body text follows:

Customers of cellular phone plans in the US are treated poorly. We would like to see regulations that require things like:

1) A bill that reflects the advertised price, and separate line items that show the cost of the phone plan and the phone.

2) A bill that shows the cost of the phone purchased and how much of the phone has been paid off

3) Upon completion of a contract the customer has the right to have any technological restrictions removed that prevent its use on other carriers networks.

4) The right to buy out the phone and terminate the contract at any time.

5) A limit to the terms of contracts allowed.

6) The right to buy a 3rd party phone and join a carriers network with no contractual obligations.
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 04:13 PM   #10
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Since when is the "Librarian of Congress" a lawyer.

Put the question and the discussion into the legal system and let the courts decide.

Tell the Librarian of Congress to stick to their core competencies, sorting books and filing microfiche..
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:14 PM   #11
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A little backwards

I think in the UK it is illegal for telco's to lock a mobile and not give you the ability to unlock it.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 07:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by fullstop102 View Post
I think in the UK it is illegal for telco's to lock a mobile and not give you the ability to unlock it.
How ironic that some Americans might one-day flood to other countries to find real freedom again, even if it might not have the same economic benefits.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 08:04 PM   #13
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How ironic that some Americans might one-day flood to other countries to find real freedom again, even if it might not have the same economic benefits.
I have considered this, but any country I would want to goto doesn't want Americans moving there.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 08:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by fullstop102 View Post
I think in the UK it is illegal for telco's to lock a mobile and not give you the ability to unlock it.
In Brazil too. Also there's a carrier which doesn't customize the firmware of their subsidized phones because they think their customers prefer this approach - totally unlocked even when in a contract.

The main difference here is that most people - or a lot of - buy unlocked phones because the extra charge is not so higher than a subsidized one. In most cases it's cheaper buying an unlocked phone in retailers.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 08:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by fullstop102 View Post
I think in the UK it is illegal for telco's to lock a mobile and not give you the ability to unlock it.
Here in New Zealand it illegal to sell them locked at all. The one thing we have going for us with Apple products over the USA woohoo
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 05:32 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by fullstop102 View Post
I think in the UK it is illegal for telco's to lock a mobile and not give you the ability to unlock it.
That's true.

And our mobile atmosphere is quite good. Now obviously the UK is smaller so it's easier to cover the whole country but we have lots and lots of phone networks with almost total coverage on all of them. And as we all use GSM and no CDMA it makes it easy to switch networks.

Personally I have an iPhone 5 64GB with Three and I pay £16 a month for 300 minutes, 3000 texts and unlimited data with tethering. That's $25 USD a month. My contract is 12 months but I also had the choice to have the contract only last 1 month with auto-renewal until cancelled. If I chose that my minutes would be 150 instead of 300 and my texts would be 1000 instead of 3000 but those were the only differences between the two contract times.

I feel really sorry for you guys in America. I mean sure you got LTE on a few different providers while we only have EE for 4G but on my network I get 14.4Mb/s down over 3G on my iPhone 5. I'm pretty happy with that even for tethering use that's very good.
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 08:18 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fullstop102 View Post
I think in the UK it is illegal for telco's to lock a mobile and not give you the ability to unlock it.
Mobiles in the UK can be locked to a carrier but they must give the owner the option to unlock it and move carriers at the end of their contract period.
France has it where all phone have to be unlocked i beleive.
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 02:13 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by fullstop102 View Post
I think in the UK it is illegal for telco's to lock a mobile and not give you the ability to unlock it.
Typical of the US really, once again, being run by the corporations and not the people.

Here in New Zealand, none of the 3 major carriers or any of the virtual carriers SIM-Lock phones, even when they are sold with a subsidy.

Justification for SIM-Locking a phone on the basis of a customer signing up is a complete croc of ****. A customer that sells the phone or switches to another network still has to pay the contract term (or the break fee)... If they don't pay, the carrier can take legal action.
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 02:14 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by kanedavid View Post
What a dumb law... SIM Locking achieves nothing other than proving to the consumer the level of arrogance the telco's have.

Here in New Zealand, none of the 3 major carriers or any of the virtual carriers SIM-Lock phones, even when they are sold with a subsidy.

Justification for SIM-Locking a phone on the basis of a customer signing up is a complete croc of ****. A customer that sells the phone or switches to another network still has to pay the contract term (or the break fee)... If they don't pay, the carrier can take legal action.
I think it might be illegal over here as well
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 08:03 PM   #20
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Just what the competitive telco landscape needs in the USA
... and I thought it was bad in Canada. Now I'm actually glad I live up here.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 10:08 PM   #21
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... and I thought it was bad in Canada. Now I'm actually glad I live up here.
I'm glad you live up there too .
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 08:14 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwalls90 View Post
Just what the competitive telco landscape needs in the USA

/Sacrasm
I'm sure the US teleco lobbyist had a say in the Library of Congress changing their mind on such a thing.

Still don't understand why a library is in control of unlocking phones though....

That's government for you.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 08:25 PM   #23
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I'm sure the US teleco lobbyist had a say in the Library of Congress changing their mind on such a thing.

Still don't understand why a library is in control of unlocking phones though....

That's government for you.
Correction: That's the United States for you.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 06:22 AM   #24
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So it's LEGAL to jail break your iPhone, but...

When Steve Jobs tried to stop people from jail breaking their iPhone and running whatever Apps they wanted, the Supreme Court backed the people and said, "it's their phone - they can use it however they want to!"

But unlocking a phone to use on a different network or country on vacation - suddenly that's illegal... That's the kind of feature Apple should back, since it adds so much value to an iPhone....

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Originally Posted by Dwalls90 View Post
Just what the competitive telco landscape needs in the USA

/Sacrasm
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:13 PM   #25
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And what's the penalty? Because the law only means anything if it's enforced and has consequences.
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