New US Law Prohibits The Unlocking Of Cell Phones Starting Saturday [Updates]

Ads by Google

A controversial new US law goes into effect on Saturday 26 January which prohibits cell phone users from unlocking their devices so they can be used with another carrier. The new law, which is overseen by the Librarian of Congress, is part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and is applicable to all newly purchased mobile phones purchased after January 26.

Many users unlock their phones when they travel to another country so their device can work on another network. Phones may also be unlocked to take advantage of features and services offered by a different carrier. However, phone companies like Verizon sell the iPhone 5 as an unlocked device, and AT&T will unlock a phone after it is out of contract.

The new rule prohibits cell phone users from using special tools and codes to unlock cell phones on their own and without the permission of the carrier they purchased the phone from. Note, unlocking a phone is different from jailbreaking a phone; the latter allows users to add non-official features and software to their device.

In response to the law, the “We the People” website has posted a petition that asks the White House and Librarian of Congress “to rescind this decision, and failing that, champion a bill that makes phone unlocking permanently legal.”

The petition requires 94,991 signatures, of which at this writing, 5,009 have been collected so far. The petition claims that the new rule “reduces consumer choice, and decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have paid for in full.”

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Source: Mashable

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Awesome Websites
Awesome Websites
137 Members
Deep Web Communities
Deep Web Communities
80 Members
Best Anonymity Tools
Best Anonymity Tools
73 Members
Tips for Privacy Obsessed
Tips for Privacy Obsessed
44 Members
Best Music Services
Best Music Services
43 Members
Online Security Tips
Online Security Tips
41 Members
Web for Kids
Web for Kids
32 Members
Ads by Google
Comments (102)
  • Sandra Anding

    The only company that I know locks a phone is CSpire. I say, tell everyone you know about this. CSpire will eventually loose money just like Cellular South did and sold out to CSpire. I have had this problem with them just yesterday. I had service with them of 13 years. I moved service to AT&T which does not lock their phones. However, I am now stuck with 2 Samsung Galaxy phones. I am not under contract with CSpire and I paid for my phone back in 2011. I am going to call customer service and see just how far I get with them. Otherwise, AT&T has offered to buy them at a reasonable price. RUN CSpire OUT OF BUSINESS!!!!!

  • carrythis

    i have a question for those of you trying to defend these two faced backstabbing sapprophites known as carriers. if you and i where to enter into a contract where i was giving you a top of the line device for next to nothing then surely i( being the shining pinnacle of customer service that i am as a carrier) would be sure make it a point to include the full asking price of the device be paid as a penalty in the event of early contract termination. that way you the consumer would be made well aware that if you got tired of the mysterious extra charges that appear on your bill for some odd reason compelled you to seek service elsewhere. then the device that cost me a 5th of what it will cost you would have to be returned or paid for would that not be the much more logical approach as far as morality is concerned? compared to ” if you will just sign this” …….”perfect” ” you have the right to be screwed anything you do to your phone can and will be used as a scare tactic dare i say act of ter$#@som to keep your money coming to me because im the spoiled rotten tantrum throwing piece of crap that i appear to be approach?

  • Diane Cebula

    this law was promoted by the cell companies to restrict consumer choice we ALL need to sign this petition
    free choice is free will

    • Bakari Chavanu

      Seems that way to me, Diane. I might try to follow-up on this story to see where it goes. I really don’t see how it’s going to get enforced.

  • salvador hernandez

    Stupid law, waste of time and money.

  • Frances Kohl

    Yet another law that supports big business and not the people. Thanks for this info, I?ll be signing and sending this to everyone I know.

Load 10 more
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.