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
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    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
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    djsiva New Member

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    Not bootloader unlock, but carrier unlock. It still sucks though.
  3. jseah
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    jseah New 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
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    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
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    mustangdroid New 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
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    johnomaz Well-Known 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
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    sl4sh3r New Member

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    This is blah blah blah. Stop me from unlocking

    Sent from my DROID r4z3r running JB
  8. NeoPhoenixTE
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    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
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    tjk629 New 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
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    combatmedic870 Well-Known 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
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    SquireSCA Well-Known 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
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    jseah New 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.
  13. jseah
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    jseah New Member

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    With the federal government pressuring the US carriers to develop a stolen/blacklisted device database that is to be shared among carriers to prevent stolen phones from being activated, a greater number of stolen devices are now being shipped outside the US to be sold anyways. This would also be outside the jurisdiction of the DMCA as well.

    Off topic, but guns are an easy target to go after and they have a certain stigma attached to it. Some unbalanced individual could drive a car into a crowd and kill just as many people, and yet the government isn't going to start talking about banning cars. Just two days ago, an elderly man got into his car, drove the wrong way on the highway (driving northbound in the southbound lanes) near me and got into a head on collision with another car with his wife being killed in the accident as a result. Any sane individual could argue that due to age, he probably should not have been driving because he got confused, however seniors groups like the AARP has fought for years against legislation that could take away driving privileges from the elderly if they are not capable of safely operating a motor vehicle. Now what if he had gotten into a head on collision with a school bus full of elementary school kids and the bus burst into flames and killed all the kids? The death toll would have been higher than Sandy Hook, but yet they would just call it an accident and nothing would have happened to the old man except having it on his conscience that he caused the death of so many people.
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  14. SquireSCA
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    SquireSCA Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, none of it makes any sense. Just casting wide nets that 99% of the time only affect the law abiding people, or victims, in the vain hopes that you accidentily catch one or two criminals, just doesn't work, and yet they keep trying...

    Forget new laws and bans. Forget more useless policies that target victims and consumers. Take the existing laws, maximize the penalties and nail the people who break those laws to the wall.
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  15. LoneWolfArcher
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    LoneWolfArcher Well-Known Member

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    You can thank the 51% that voted for 0bama.
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  16. Crankintopwater69
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    Crankintopwater69 Well-Known Member

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    First gun rights....now the phone I buy is not mine.Ladies and Gents,we're moving toward a communists country.Just sayin........
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  17. Crankintopwater69
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    Crankintopwater69 Well-Known Member

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    You done gone and done it now.:D
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  18. Crankintopwater69
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    Crankintopwater69 Well-Known Member

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    If you run for Pres,I promise Ill vote for you.:D
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  19. comk4ver
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    comk4ver Member

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    I agree with a receipt we shouldn't have any issues. Otherwise we are just renting out a phone on an expensive contract. Anyone want to file a class action lawsuit against?
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  20. egambino
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    egambino New Member

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    Either I own the phone or I don't...

    While I had no intention of unlocking my phone, just the fact that they are denying me the right to do with my property as I wish is galling to me. In my understanding of what was posted, since I bought my phone back in July...I should still be able to do it if I wish, correct?
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