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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
Muscle Master
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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
Dwalls90
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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
mrsir2009
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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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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:13 PM   #5
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, 04:13 PM   #6
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, 04:14 PM   #7
fullstop102
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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, 04:15 PM   #8
bryan85
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Wtf?!
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:15 PM   #9
kas23
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Illegal? Who's going to arrest me?
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:15 PM   #10
Jessica Lares
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Should make browsing eBay much easier then.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by kas23 View Post
Illegal? Who's going to arrest me?
someone read him his rights
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:16 PM   #12
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, 04:17 PM   #13
AustinIllini
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Beautiful.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:18 PM   #14
usersince86
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1984

It's why 2013 will be like 1984...
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:19 PM   #15
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This is what a massive, extremely powerful federal government looks like - the power is taken from the people and given to the powerful.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:19 PM   #16
clibinarius
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And if I go to another country and get it unlocked...?
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:19 PM   #17
SeattleMoose
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Ha ha ha!!!

This law will have as much "teeth" as the law that flashes up when you watch a DVD "Copying....FBI...blah blah blah".

Though it IS nice to know the phone industry lobbyists still have jobs in a tough economy.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:20 PM   #18
mrsir2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kas23 View Post
Illegal? Who's going to arrest me?
No one. Just like no one's going to arrest a 13 yr old for watching porn.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:20 PM   #19
felipecerda
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Wow that sucks. Here in Chile every phone in the market must be unlocked by law and if a phone is locked, the carrier has to unlock it.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:21 PM   #20
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So if I unlock my phone and use it on another carrier, who's going to enforce this new law?
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:21 PM   #21
iPhoneApple
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Only in the U.S...
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:22 PM   #22
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Thankfully, I live in Canada.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:23 PM   #23
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They forgot to add "WITHIN THE TIMELINE OF THE CONTRACT" to the end of the law.

I have no problem with this law existing while you're paying back your carrier. But it's beyond ridiculous that it exists beyond that time. I think carriers should be obligated to unlike your phone the instant the contract ends.

Absurd.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:23 PM   #24
unplugme71
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Why doesn't the government take away our first right. Almost every other freedom has been taken away as of today's date.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 04:24 PM   #25
antman2295
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So let me understand this, as of Saturday we will no longer be able to "legally" unlock our iPhone's? So iTunes won't unlock them, and you won't be able to unlock your phone via At&t or any other cell provider?
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