US Will Soon Make Unlocking New Mobile Phones Illegal

Unlocking the latest mobile phones is considered the gateway to mobile freedom by many. It essentially frees you from the compulsion of using only the wireless carrier who offered the device in a contract. However, the perk of unlocking mobile phones will soon end as U.S. government is all set to ban it soon.

Unlocked iPhone

The decision was apparently made by the U.S. Congress back in October 2012. It was agreed upon under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Back then, it was decided that the users will be given a window of 90 days so that they can still buy a new phone and unlock it. Once the deadline expires, the act of unlocking a new phone would become illegal.

As it happens, the 90 days will end on January 26. In other words, after the said date, if you tried to unlock your new mobile phone, that would be a crime. The new injunction from the Congress comes at a great expense to users’ convenience.

Many users tend to unlock their new phones simply so that they can use local carriers while they travel overseas. The intent is far from somehow ‘escaping’ the original carrier that offered the device. Once the injunction is implemented, it would make the users depend on the wireless carriers or original mobile phone vendors for unlocked devices.

Many carriers have started allowing the unlocking of devices once the user contract expires. Vendors such as Apple have also started offering them at somewhat higher prices.

The text in the Federal Register, pertaining to the issue at hand, reads thus, ‘The Register concluded after a review of the statutory factors that an exemption to the prohibition on circumvention of mobile phone computer programs to permit users to unlock “legacy” phones is both warranted and unlikely to harm the market for such programs. At the same time, in light of carriers’ current unlocking policies and the ready availability of new unlocked phones in the marketplace, the record did not support an exemption for newly purchased phones. Looking to precedents in copyright law, the Register recommended that the class designated by the Librarian include a 90-day transitional period to allow unlocking by those who may acquire phones shortly after the new exemption goes into effect.’

Source: GOP

Courtesy: Mac Rumors

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