Effective today, unlocking phone will be illegal in USA

Posted on January 27, 2013 04:26 am

Its now official that Citizens of the United States will no longer be allowed to unlock their smartphones after an official decree banning the practice come into effect today. The practice of unlocking handsets has enabled people to use their unlocked phones on networks other than the ones for which they were purchased. Up until this morning, US consumers were able to ask their carrier to unlock the phone under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but this right has now been taken away from them with the new law. Since it was announced in October last year by the Librarian of Congress, the ban on unlocking phones, was found that the procedure amounted to infringing on firmware copyrights.

So called jail breaking to allow a phone to run other than officially sanctioned applications, and unlocking bootloaders to install alternative firmware, or to gain administrative privileges on a device through rooting it, are not covered by the new law. Starting from today, the Librarian of Congress threatens smartphone unlockers with heavy penalties, both in terms of fines and prison with no mercy shown to first-time offender.In some situations, first time offenders may be fined up to $500,000, imprisoned for five years, or both. For repeat offenders, the maximum penalty increases to a fine of $1,000,000, imprisonment for up to ten years, or both, the decree of the Librarian of Congress states. Text of the October 2012 Library of Congress, Copyright Office, ruling on exemption to prohibition of circumvention of copyright protection systems for access control technologies

Contador Harrison