Skip to comments.Law makes 'unlocking' devices to switch carriers punishable by fines and even prison
Posted on 01/27/2013 9:08:24 AM PST by Uncle Chip
A new law that makes it illegal to 'unlock' your cell phone and switch carriers goes into effect today and will carry fines between $2,500 and $500,000, and in some cases, prison time.
The change made by the U.S. Copyright Office and Library of Congress to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act will make it illegal for consumers to unlock mobile devices without the permission of their carrier.
The lock feature on mobile devices essentially allows carriers a way to prevent customers from switching to a new plan with a different company.
Unless your phone came unlocked and are grandfathered in under the law, you're device is legally chained to your service provider.
'For many users, unlocking a phone is a necessary fix, opening up a feature and freedom that people need to effectively use their devices,' reads a blog post on iFixit.com, 'The Copyright Offices decision to outlaw this right of ownership hurts users and further empowers carriers to trap consumers.'
Now, it is illegal to unlock a phone from a carrier unless you have that carrier's permission.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
This appeared in a MAJOR newspaper, and you know what?
I think they ought to CHOP THE EDITOR'S HAND OFF.
it just goes to show you, just like “Property Taxes” makes it so you don’t really own your property, you are just renting it, so goes it with these devices you don’t “really” own them you are just renting them.
What next, I wonder?
Payoffs - I mean ‘lobbying efforts’ must have run into the hundreds of millions for their piece of legislation. Nice to know our public servants got a lotta skim on this one.
The carriers are loosing the battle to the very companies the sell blocks of air time to. (the prepaid companies) why should I be paying sprint 190 dollar a month when I can get the exact same service through boost for 100?
I don’t care if sprint gives me a 300 dollar phone for a penny and I have to pay boost 300 bucks for it. Anyone who can do simple math can figure out where the deal is.
I highly doubt this rule will be enforced.
Radical changes in Intellectual Property law are necessary. And I mean RADICAL.
“you’re device is legally chained”
I mean, dude, its supozed ta be UR, right? Wurdz is wat U makim.
Yet another way to make “criminals” out of even more people. Where are they going to incarcerate all these “new” felons...or are they?
this would only kinda make sense if the carrier still owns the phone.
if YOU own the phone, then it’s your property and you can do whatever you want with it
Part of this deal was a request by law enforcement...over the growing number of robberies where your cellphone just disappears and is sold for $40 within an hour. If you can’t unlock the device....it’s really not going to be worth much to most crooks. The criminal profit goes to zero.
Your just being pedantic, this kinds of errors’ are okay with me.
JUST KIDDING! I agree with you: the editor should be fired with prejudice.
Tyranny would be so much easier if it weren't for that darned impulse people have to be free.
It's not that you CAN'T unlock the device, it's only that they are making it ILLEGAL TO UNLOCK it.
Since the person who steals cell phones is already a criminal, what does he(she) care?
The only difference it will make is that people will be more cautious about buying a (possibly stolen and unlocked) cell phone.
Speaking of making a fortune, someone will create an APP that checks to see if your phone was switched to a new carrier (unlocked) without ‘permission’ of the original carrier.
You can just buy an unlocked phone off the internet.
DHGate is full of them, many quite reasonably priced.
Stupid and pointless law.
Your logic is flawed. Making it illegal to unlock a phone does not mean it can't be unlocked. There is no technology that can't be hacked, period.
What this law does is criminalize law abiding phone owners who have legitimate reasons for wanting to unlock their personal property.
I may want to pass my two year old Iphone down to one of my children and have them use a paygo carrier. Now I've been criminalized for using my OWN property in the way that best benefits me.
The state now requires I use MY property to benefit big business.
I'm sorry, it's time to kick some congressional ass. They continue to sell our personal property rights to big business.
You got that right, over and over and over again they sell us out to big business.
“this would only kinda make sense if the carrier still owns the phone.
if YOU own the phone, then its your property and you can do whatever you want with it”
... but the manufacturer owns the software, and grants you a license to use it. The license says you can’t unlock without permission.
However, criminal penalties for violating a contract seem pretty rare.
When I repped for AT&T wireless a century ago .... OK ... LAST century ... 1982 or 3, I used to COAM hip customers' phones.
I say 'hip' because not many people knew they could get their old Bell sytem phone, already paid for, on line with AT&T.
I just inputted the ESN .. Electronic Serial Number and do a "grab" (Go outside and do a couple of things (I forget) and you now had AT&T service with your old phone
You can't COAM phones anymore and the same Motorola (F'rinstance) from a pay as you go will not be COAMed by Verizon (etc), nor will the pay as you go COAM a Verizon or AT&T or other pay as you go.
So if you make a mistake, your phone could be a $200 paperweight
Then how about a wholesale replacement of the software? If you are using none of their software then you cannot be licensing it, and if you are not licensing it they cannot deny you the permission.
I really can’t complain.
I paid Verizon $1 for my Samsung Galaxy S on Black Friday, 2010.
When overseas I use this great Android micro-computer/camera for many things other than as a Verizon phone.
Dey musta bin uzin' dis
I remember arguing with a co-worker (liberal democrat and Obama voter) about your right to own and do what you paid for. This concerning the IBM PC’s that came out in the late 1980’s. You could buy either the 8 MHz or 12 MHz model and the only difference between them was the clock crystal. Same motherboard, same parts. What some folks did was buy the * MHz model for a lower price and then change the crystal.
WHat IBM did if you had the machine serviced is they removed the 12 MHz crystal and put the 8 MHz crystal back in and then reprogrammed the BIO’s so the 12 MHz crystal wouldn’t work.
I made the remark that IBM was screwing people and one of the reasons I wouldn’t buy their equipment. The woman remarked that since you didn’t pay the extra money, you have no right to change the crystal. She also remarked that you should get punished by the legal system as well. My take is I worked for the money to buy something, my property and my decision to do whatever. Her comeback, she remarked that society has a say and changing the crystal is considered fraud. The woman was kind of nuts.
Today, my opinion is the same. You work for the money to buy something, whatever you do with the item is your business so long as no one is directly harmed (physically injured, maimed, lose job, etc).
sorrrry cuz— I be laffin so hard ma grillz feled on the keybored.
Aren’t cellphones sold unlocked in foreign countries?
Before the break-up of AT&T, yo didn’t own your phone, you simply rented it from the phone company. It seems that those days are returning.
But see that is the whole deal with proprietary Software and Hardware. You DON"T own it, technically you lease it because you are not supposed to resell it without consent. (Though they've lost in court on that one several times.)
But give them time they will make that point illegal also before it is over with.
I have a legally obtained copy of Microsoft Word that came with a Dell Computer I bought last century. That copy has been installed on several successive computers I have owned when I purchased a new one to replace the previous one. I've always removed Word from the older Computers before I placed it on the newer ones. Now I am told by Microsoft I can't do that anymore because I reached my limit and I need to buy a new copy. Sorry but they will not get more money from me. A friend tells me he can crack it so I can use it on my new computer. I will have him do such. I bought the Software, it is mine and Microsoft isn't going to tell me I can't use it anymore!
Law enforcement my donkey! It’s political corruption in its purest form. Payback for campaign contributions and lunches, excuse me, luncheons at D.C. Trader Vics (as ou can see I haven’t been to the swamp in a while.) Can you think of any objective reasons for this law? Outrage! With an unlocked phone you could travel abroad with it, buy a SIM card there and use it inexpensively (rates tend to be lower elsewhere, and you don’t pay for incoming calls.) Foggetabouit now, mate!
I’m probably oe of the few people who doesn’t own a cell phone, and I know nothing about ‘em; can someone with some savvy explain to me what’s the big deal about fiddling with one’s own personal property if that property is a cell phone?
Sort of like the insurance companies pushing a law that fines folks for not buying their product. Fascism at its finest.