Unlocking New Mobile Phones Becomes Illegal In the US
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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 library provided a 90-day window during which people could still buy a phone and unlock it. That window closes on January 26.' While this doesn't apply to phones purchased before the window closes, this means that after 1/26/13, for any new mobile phone you purchase, you'll have to fulfill your contract, or break the law to unlock it."
Okay...but, unlocking a phone opens up some security risks...so...
Just out of cat-killing-curiosity, just what would you accomplish with an unlocked phone? You want a mobile device completely to your needs, is'nt a laptop or netbook more suited to the task?
Hey, it's friday nite here, so forgive me if I miss the point
Yeah...okay...but, if you (okay, I live in belgium, rules and mileage may vary ) put a way too strong engine in a medium car, dont you endanger your life? So, okay, you hack into your phone, the next bit is keeping that fact to your self. You may be owner of the phone, but not the provider's network...a network you could potientially endanger with a hacked phone...
In escence, nobody gives a w*nk if you hack (and potentially destroy) a perfectly good phone, it's the purpose they worry about...
Unlocking a phone frees it from restrictions that keep the device from working on more than one carrier's network, allowing it run on other networks that use the same wireless standard. This can be useful to international travellers who need their phones to work on different networks. Other people just like the freedom of being able to switch carriers as they please.
(Note that unlocking is different from "jailbreaking," which opens the phone up for running additional software and remains legal for smartphones.)
It is still legal to jailbreak smartphones, but other mobile devices are not listed as being legal to jailbreak...
I dont think the actual jailbreaking in itself is the worry of the lawmakers here, more the jailbreaking as a means to illegal activities. If you own a car that can go fast, it's still illegal to break the speed limit. Of course, this law is similar to outlawing power cars...
Unlocking a phone frees it from restrictions that keep the device from working on more than one carrier's network
...that's not really an issue here in the eu...if I travel to an other country, I switch operator automacally, agreements are in place that my calls on the other network are charged back to me via my local operator...and as Internet goes, well, there's enough free WIFI spots to do that, hey, some even leave their wireless open for the neighbours...
A quick look at Wikipedia suggests that the USA is the only country where you don't have the right to unlock a mobile phone. I'm not surprised. It also seems that most countries give you the right to demand the supplier unlock it when the initial contract is over. The UK doesn't, but that's no surprise either.
software that is copyrighted and owned by your carrier
...is "carrier" here the maker of the phone or the network provider? In the prior, that could be true, you buy the phone (the hardware, that is) and get a licence to use the software on the phone...you never become owner of the software...in the latter, that's debatable...the network provider does not own the software on the phone...IMHO...
..of course, that's what it says in the article further down...
that we cell phone owners do not actually “own” the software running our phones. Instead, we are only “licensing” this software – a key difference – which means that we don’t have a right to alter that software
Then again, it seems unlocked phones are for sale anyway...
As a summary:
1) It is legal to jailbreak (modify the firmware of) smartphones. p. 15
2) "tablet" is too ambiguous, and so the DMCA exemption does NOT apply to tablets. i.e. It is illegal to jailbreak tablets. p. 15-16
3) It is illegal to unlock (ability to connect to alternative networks) new mobile phones. p. 16
From this I get that it is illegal to jailbreak tablets ! Is it true ? Can a lawyer confirm it ?