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Thread: Illegal to unlock our phones

  1. Droid Ninja
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    #11

    Re: Illegal to unlock our phones

    You can unlock the bootloader for the purpose of installing a custom rom. It is only illegal to unlock it from the carrier that you bought it on.

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    #12
    I bought the phone, the phone is mine to do as I wish.
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  3. Droid
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    #13
    I am confused. I thought it was only illegal to unlock the phone when you buy it on the cheap, for the price of extending your contract? They don't want people buying a $600 phone for $200 bucks (for example), unlocking it, then possibly selling it right away. If the carrier sells you the phone for a reduced price, they just want to be sure it is used on their particular network for the contract period.
    If you buy the phone at full price or from someone else, and it isn't on contract, you can do whatever you want.
    I'm not sure why this pisses people off.
    If you want to unlock it, buy it outright.
    If you can't afford to buy it outright, you'll have to abide by their rules.
    If you don't like their rules, break them and risk consequences, if there are really any.
    I love a free country.
  4. Moderator
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by MTBryan View Post
    I am confused. I thought it was only illegal to unlock the phone when you buy it on the cheap, for the price of extending your contract? They don't want people buying a $600 phone for $200 bucks (for example), unlocking it, then possibly selling it right away. If the carrier sells you the phone for a reduced price, they just want to be sure it is used on their particular network for the contract period.
    If you buy the phone at full price or from someone else, and it isn't on contract, you can do whatever you want.
    I'm not sure why this pisses people off.
    If you want to unlock it, buy it outright.
    If you can't afford to buy it outright, you'll have to abide by their rules.
    If you don't like their rules, break them and risk consequences, if there are really any.
    I love a free country.
    Not quite. Generally speaking, it is now considered illegal in the U.S. for a person to unlock the SIM slot on a device on their own, regardless of where the device came from. This includes unlocking it on your own even if you've bought it at full price. What isn't illegal is if the carrier will provide you with the means to unlock the phone, which many carriers will do if you meet certain criteria (which often includes paying for the phone at an off-contract price).

    Basically, the current interpretation of the law is that unlocking a carrier-locked SIM slot on a device is completely in the carrier's hands. If the carrier wants to provide a way to unlock one of their locked devices, that's 100% legal. Go through the steps they require, and you're good to go. If the carrier - or manufacturer - wants to provide you with a device that's SIM unlocked right out of the box, that's also 100% legal (all of Verizon's LTE devices are SIM unlocked right out of the box). But unlocking a device that is SIM locked on your own without the involvement of the carrier to which the device is locked, regardless of how you purchased the device, is now considered to be illegal.

    So, to make a long story short, if you want to legally unlock a SIM locked device, you have to do it through the carrier that the device is locked to, regardless of how you obtained the device.
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  5. Droid
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    #15
    bsweetness: Thanks for the clarification.
    Cheers...
  6. Droid Newbie
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    #16
    got a good response today from the white house about legalizing cell phone unlocking. here is the source:

    White House responds to petition: unlocking phones should be legalized

    The recent ruling that effectively bans third-party phone unlocking has ruffled more than a few feathers, and the people have spoken with their electronic signatures -- 114,322 of them, to be exact. Now the petition to the White House, which asks that DMCA protection of phone unlockers be reconsidered, has finally received an official response, and it appears that it's for the positive. The author of the letter is R. David Edelman, Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation and Privacy.
    "The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties," Edelman writes. All told, the response matches that of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which wrote a letter to the Librarian of Congress in support of extending the exemption last year.
    So what does this mean for us? Edelman states: "The Obama Administration would support a range of approaches to addressing this issue, including narrow legislative fixes in the telecommunications space that make it clear: neither criminal law nor technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service agreement or other obligation." We're not going to see immediate change, but it appears that a chain of events is now in motion in which the FCC and Congress potentially play a huge role. We're not out of the woods yet, but it's relieving to see such a positive response -- along with a call to action -- from the government.



    what do you guys think?

    here is the full response letter:

    Thank you for sharing your views on cell phone unlocking with us through your petition on our We the People platform. Last week the White House brought together experts from across government who work on telecommunications, technology, and copyright policy, and we're pleased to offer our response.
    The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren't bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It's common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers' needs.
    This is particularly important for secondhand or other mobile devices that you might buy or receive as a gift, and want to activate on the wireless network that meets your needs -- even if it isn't the one on which the device was first activated. All consumers deserve that flexibility.
    The White House's position detailed in this response builds on some critical thinking done by the President's chief advisory Agency on these matters: the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). For more context and information on the technical aspects of the issue, you can review the NTIA's letter to the Library of Congress' Register of Copyrights (.pdf), voicing strong support for maintaining the previous exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for cell phone carrier unlocking.
    Contrary to the NTIA's recommendation, the Librarian of Congress ruled that phones purchased after January of this year would no longer be exempted from the DMCA. The law gives the Librarian the authority to establish or eliminate exceptions -- and we respect that process. But it is also worth noting the statement the Library of Congress released today on the broader public policy concerns of the issue. Clearly the White House and Library of Congress agree that the DMCA exception process is a rigid and imperfect fit for this telecommunications issue, and we want to ensure this particular challenge for mobile competition is solved.
    So where do we go from here?
    The Obama Administration would support a range of approaches to addressing this issue, including narrow legislative fixes in the telecommunications space that make it clear: neither criminal law nor technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service agreement or other obligation.
    We also believe the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with its responsibility for promoting mobile competition and innovation, has an important role to play here. FCC Chairman Genachowski today voiced his concern about mobile phone unlocking (.pdf), and to complement his efforts, NTIA will be formally engaging with the FCC as it addresses this urgent issue.
    Finally, we would encourage mobile providers to consider what steps they as businesses can take to ensure that their customers can fully reap the benefits and features they expect when purchasing their devices.
    We look forward to continuing to work with Congress, the wireless and mobile phone industries, and most importantly you -- the everyday consumers who stand to benefit from this greater flexibility -- to ensure our laws keep pace with changing technology, protect the economic competitiveness that has led to such innovation in this space, and offer consumers the flexibility and freedoms they deserve.
  7. Moderator
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    #17

    Re: Illegal to unlock our phones

    Quote Originally Posted by droidgal1 View Post
    got a good response today from the white house about legalizing cell phone unlocking. here is the source:

    [spoiler]White House responds to petition: unlocking phones should be legalized

    The recent ruling that effectively bans third-party phone unlocking has ruffled more than a few feathers, and the people have spoken with their electronic signatures -- 114,322 of them, to be exact. Now the petition to the White House, which asks that DMCA protection of phone unlockers be reconsidered, has finally received an official response, and it appears that it's for the positive. The author of the letter is R. David Edelman, Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation and Privacy.
    "The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties," Edelman writes. All told, the response matches that of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which wrote a letter to the Librarian of Congress in support of extending the exemption last year.
    So what does this mean for us? Edelman states: "The Obama Administration would support a range of approaches to addressing this issue, including narrow legislative fixes in the telecommunications space that make it clear: neither criminal law nor technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service agreement or other obligation." We're not going to see immediate change, but it appears that a chain of events is now in motion in which the FCC and Congress potentially play a huge role. We're not out of the woods yet, but it's relieving to see such a positive response -- along with a call to action -- from the government.



    what do you guys think?

    here is the full response letter:

    Thank you for sharing your views on cell phone unlocking with us through your petition on our We the People platform. Last week the White House brought together experts from across government who work on telecommunications, technology, and copyright policy, and we're pleased to offer our response.
    The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren't bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It's common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers' needs.
    This is particularly important for secondhand or other mobile devices that you might buy or receive as a gift, and want to activate on the wireless network that meets your needs -- even if it isn't the one on which the device was first activated. All consumers deserve that flexibility.
    The White House's position detailed in this response builds on some critical thinking done by the President's chief advisory Agency on these matters: the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). For more context and information on the technical aspects of the issue, you can review the NTIA's letter to the Library of Congress' Register of Copyrights (.pdf), voicing strong support for maintaining the previous exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for cell phone carrier unlocking.
    Contrary to the NTIA's recommendation, the Librarian of Congress ruled that phones purchased after January of this year would no longer be exempted from the DMCA. The law gives the Librarian the authority to establish or eliminate exceptions -- and we respect that process. But it is also worth noting the statement the Library of Congress released today on the broader public policy concerns of the issue. Clearly the White House and Library of Congress agree that the DMCA exception process is a rigid and imperfect fit for this telecommunications issue, and we want to ensure this particular challenge for mobile competition is solved.
    So where do we go from here?
    The Obama Administration would support a range of approaches to addressing this issue, including narrow legislative fixes in the telecommunications space that make it clear: neither criminal law nor technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service agreement or other obligation.
    We also believe the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with its responsibility for promoting mobile competition and innovation, has an important role to play here. FCC Chairman Genachowski today voiced his concern about mobile phone unlocking (.pdf), and to complement his efforts, NTIA will be formally engaging with the FCC as it addresses this urgent issue.
    Finally, we would encourage mobile providers to consider what steps they as businesses can take to ensure that their customers can fully reap the benefits and features they expect when purchasing their devices.
    We look forward to continuing to work with Congress, the wireless and mobile phone industries, and most importantly you -- the everyday consumers who stand to benefit from this greater flexibility -- to ensure our laws keep pace with changing technology, protect the economic competitiveness that has led to such innovation in this space, and offer consumers the flexibility and freedoms they deserve.[/SPOILER]
    And before anyone asks, this does not mean that it's now legal again. It's just a statement from the White House giving their opinion on the matter.

    In actuality, this doesn't vary too far from the current law. The big difference is that the White House is saying that you should be able to unlock a carrier-branded phone that isn't under contract on your own (with no carrier approval needed). If the phone is under contract, then you still must have carrier approval. The current law states that unlocking a carrier-branded device can only be done with carrier approval, regardless of the state of the contract.

    So, the White House has a position that's a step in the right direction, but it doesn't advocate taking things completely back to the way they were.
    Current lineup: Galaxy S5, iPhone 5S, Note 10.1 (2014)

    Previous smartphones: Note 3, HTC One, Note 2, Galaxy S3, One X, RAZR MAXX, Galaxy Nexus, Rezound, Note, iPhone 4S, Bionic, Stratosphere, Charge, Vitality, Incredible 2, Thunderbolt, Palm Pixi Plus, Droid 3, Fascinate, Incredible, Droid Pro, Droid 2 Global, Droid X, Droid, Treo Pro, Touch Pro 2, Touch Pro, Q9m, XV6800, XV6900

    Previous tablets: iPad Mini, Transformer TF300, Evo View, Transformer Prime, Transformer TF101, Thrive, gTablet
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