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Unlocking Cellular Devices Became Illegal Today
Posted By Aggregated Content On January 26, 2013 @ 4:00 pm In legal | 5 Comments
By Keaton Keller
A while ago, I thought that cellphone carriers were unaware that consumers could buy a phone for the contract price and then use it anywhere unrestricted. Then, after a while I learned this wasn’t the case and that carriers had every possible loophole filled in.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act  (DMCA), a bill to hinder hackers from wandering away from their device’s service provider, will now include an additional rule stating that unlocking phones will be deemed illegal .
Keep in mind, people will do it and in the past we’ve seen the U.S. Government do something like this before. Jailbreaking, the act of putting a custom ROM on an iOS device, was granted illegal, but then drawn back for iPhones. Also just recently, jailbreaking iPads has become illegal .
One question keeps pulsing around in my head: How will the government enforce this? Will their be an exuberant fine? Will jail time be a feasible solution to end the unlocking of one’s cellular device?
I can see why massive carriers are becoming enraged, as the act directly hurts their business. Unlocking phones creates a deficit and takes away potential profit that could be earned. A recent statistic has been published stating that a normal smartphone with a minimum data plan can produce a wireless carrier $2,600 over a two-year contract. Now multiply that number by the number of U.S. residents with unlocked cellphones. That is a big risk and loss of money.
Granted, there are loop holes, such as buying devices on contract, waiting a month while in service and then paying the standard $200 cancellation fee. If you compare the numbers, it’s still less than buying the phone pre-unlocked or outright from the carrier/manufacturer. Clearly carriers are cracking down on this, and will continue fighting for their profit.
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URL to article: http://www.teleread.com/legal/unlocking-cellular-devices-becomes-illegal-today/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.teleread.com/?attachment_id=77561
 Digital Millennium Copyright Act: https://www.eff.org/issues/dmca
 unlocking phones will be deemed illegal: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/25/cellphone-unlock-dmca/
 jailbreaking iPads has become illegal: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/10/jailbreaking-now-legal-under-dmca-for-smartphones-but-not-tablets/
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