Just FYI: Saturday Jan 26th It Will Be Illegal in the US to Unlock Your Phone

Discussion in 'Android News' started by dgstorm, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    Here's a bit of news that might come as a shocker. Apparently, as of January 26th (tomorrow), it will be illegal to carrier unlock your phone in the United States. This means that there will be legal repercussions (such as fines and possibly jail-time) for anyone who unlocks their mobile phones to use on a carrier it was not intended for.

    Now, to be clear, this does not make it illegal to unlock your bootloader or to root your device. Furthermore, it will not be illegal to purchase a factory unlocked phone outright and use it on other networks. Also, your carriers can still unlock, or give you permission to unlock your device. Basically, this new law only prohibits the process of unlocking your phone with a software action that allows your device to run on similar but different than original networks. Additionally, the ruling will let you arbitrarily unlock smartphones purchased prior to January 2013.

    Supposedly, the reason for this is to curtail criminals from stealing devices, unlocking them and re-selling them on multiple networks. Of course, as frequently happens, when making things more difficult on criminals, some laws also make things more difficult for regular users who have no intention of doing anything criminal.

    Update: Here's an interesting quote from AndroidAuthority with some additional detail on the matter,



    Update 2: Because it seems there is some confusion regarding this "new law," we thought it prudent to share some additional info that might clarify it to some degree. Here's a quote from the CTIA Blog that puts things in a simple perspective:


    Let the rancor begin...

    Thanks for the tip, AndroidIsTheTruth!

    Source: Phandroid
     
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  2. djsiva

    djsiva Active Member

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    Not bootloader unlock, but carrier unlock. It still sucks though.
     
  3. jseah

    jseah Active Member

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    This is a reversal of the previous position the US government took with Apple when they told Apple that jailbreaking an iPhone was legal since the user owned the device.
     
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  4. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member Premium Member

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    I explained that in the story... "Now, to be clear, this does not make it illegal to unlock your bootloader or to root your device." ;)
     
  5. mustangdroid

    mustangdroid Member

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    So what happens if I want to use an at&t or T-Mobile phone with straight talk? They sell the sim to use it on their network and phone don't have to be unlocked.
     
  6. johnomaz

    johnomaz Silver Member

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    I can see why this is put in place, it is a rather big issue. But if you have proof it is your phone and you are unlocking it, that should be legal. By proof, I mean a receipt or something. I have a feeling Apple was behind this considering how many of their phones have made their way to T-Mobile. Ya, I brought Apple into this.
     
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  7. sl4sh3r

    sl4sh3r Member

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    This is blah blah blah. Stop me from unlocking

    Sent from my DROID r4z3r running JB
     
  8. NeoPhoenixTE

    NeoPhoenixTE Member

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    My understanding is this isn't a new law, but the expiration of an exemption to an old one.

    This was part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act passed ages ago. The thing is, the copyright office had managed to jam an exemption in for digital phones that prevented this part of the DMCA from being enforced. That exemption is now expiring, meaning that law can now be enforced.

    It was never legal to carrier-unlock phones. However, after the 26th, carriers can now do something about it.

    Again, this is AFAIK.
     
  9. tjk629

    tjk629 Silver Member

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    What a load of crap. All this does is further enforce the idea that your phone is not yours, but the carriers. Who the hell am I "harming" if I want to use my Bionic on AT&T or T-Mobile? The answer? Supposedly Everyone.
     
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  10. combatmedic870

    combatmedic870 Senior Member

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    Does this really matter?? if you own the phone....you should be able to do what you want with it...But not they are making it so you dont own aspects of the phone.
     
  11. SquireSCA

    SquireSCA Silver Member

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    Another law like the current push for an assault weapons or magazine ban law.... Criminals ignore them, as they are already ignoring lots of laws, like laws against rape, murder, assault, robbery, etc... So making a law saying that you cannot have the tool is utterly useless... It only effects the people who are not breaking the laws, because they are the only ones following the laws in the first place. This is the same mindset... Criminals who are out stealing phones... are they really concerned with getting in trouble for unlocking them? I mean, if laws against theft are ignored, what makes anyone think that these vermin will stop over an unlocking law?

    It is amazing how stupid people are, to think that we can control behavior with a piece of paper...
     
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  12. jseah

    jseah Active Member

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    It's the law of unintended consequences and unfortunately, every time the government passes a law, it screws over someone who the government never foreseen. Like the original post stated, the DMCA was originally passed to protect copyrights from being stolen (i.e. mp3's, movies, software). The intent was never to infringe upon the ownership rights of someone who legally purchased it. However, the way the law was written, it can be.

    The big issue is while the government would most likely never enforce the DMCA against someone who is jailbreaking a phone that they legally paid for, the manufacturer such as Apple could sue the person in court, and would win given how the law was written. And knowing Apple, I'm pretty sure they're probably licking their lips with joy over this. Although it would be a public relations nightmare if they were to file a lawsuit against some individual for breaking the law by jailbreaking an iPhone that they purchased.
     
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