How To: It's Now Against the Law to Unlock Your Mobile Phone—Here's How to Help Make It Legal Again! [UPDATED]

It's Now Against the Law to Unlock Your Mobile Phone—Here's How to Help Make It Legal Again! [UPDATED]

UPDATE: The whitehouse petition has received enough signatures to require a response from the government. Your voices have been heard! Now we wait...

The Man is always trying to hold you back, and when it comes to the government, it can be this biggest swag blocker of all. As technology continues to advance, the U.S. government is struggling to pass laws and amendments that will keep up with the times.

Remember the Stop Online Piracy Act, better known as SOPA? It was introduced as a bill that would curb illegal access to copyrighted material, but gave the government power to shut down an entire site if it was viewed to have unwarranted access to copyrighted material among many other things.

The internet and many huge online companies were outraged and decided to try and kill the bill before it gained any traction. With the help of online petitions and the shutting down of popular sites like Wikipedia to raise awareness of what could happen, millions of people voiced their opposition and the bill was quickly shelved.

Image via wonderhowto.com

But, big business is not so easily beaten. With the help of the CTIA, which is pretty much a lobbying group stacked with wireless network executives, unlocking your phone is essentially ILLEGAL now, thanks to some recent updates to the DMCA by the Library of Congress.

Yup, that means if you buy an iPhone from AT&T and are dissatisfied with their service and decide to switch providers by unlocking your SIM and choosing another service, you could be fined up to $50,000 and even go to jail for up to 5 years.

Needless to say, this would be pretty terrible.

This allows cell phone companies to chose whether or not you could unlock your phone, even if you have lived out your contract! And if they say no, well, you will just have to buy another device with your desired provider, causing you to buy two phones instead of just one. This has actually already been in effect since January 26!

The carriers argue that giving customers the ability to unlock their phones is detrimental to their business, even though many international carriers have zero problems doing so.

If you want to help stop this ridiculous law from actually getting enforced, you gotta act now and help make the Library of Congress rescind this decision. There is a White House White House petition already set up. The petition has a goal of 100,000 votes, due to the increase of the minimum required signatures (it was 25,000 last year), and is currently at 74,837, so it needs all the help it can get.

Don't let these huge cell phone carriers block our swag!

If you want more information on this subject, check out this XDA article, and for those looking for some sleeping aids, you can check out the Congressional documents discussing this issue as well.

Photos by demosphere, schrader

3 Comments

time to update your information guys because the supreme court deemed it legal to jailbreak a phone and sim card around a year ago or so. so try again writer.

True, but now they've reversed that decision, making it illegal again as of Jan 26, 2013 (only removing the carrier SIM lock. Jailbreaking & Rooting is still fine). Go sign the petition!

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